Australian Politics

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The Predictable Tragedy of Social Media.

Having been a contributor of articles and aesthetics to social media for many years, culminating in being “cancelled” from several sites, and now, “deactivated” from a Twitter account because of the ghastly banality and insanity of conversations there, I can give a pretty sound analysis of the contributing faults that have given social media such a bad name these days.

The simple equation that makes a social media site “successful” is contained in the same equation that makes a particular political party successful and the tragic reality of that equation was developed and drawn upon in the last decade to elevate certain social media platforms to the giddy heights of financial mega-extreme, along with elevating certain unworthy political personages to similar heights with the use of “Cambridge Analytica” manipulation of opinion to let the likes of certain disreputable characters gain office .

It has been long known that a certain percentage of the population will always “seek the oracle and worship the idol”….in the world of social media, this is known as clustering or cabal-ing..I use the more pejorative term of :”Hem-hugging”..ie those who hide behind a metaphorical mother’s skirt to snipe out at those they disapprove of, whilst enjoying the security of being “covered” by a “mother’s wamth”..in the social media sense that being a person or persons of “authority” within the public perception or having a majority of approving “followers” that give one a touch of “cred’ by association”.

It is a cowardly, crawling method of making opinion upon those that cannot defend themselves from the onslaught of “piling-on” obsequiousness from the legion of followers crowding to also gain validation via numbers..it is the classic example of a “bullying” philosophy.

It usually starts with the culprits cautiously making an observation on a particular subject under discussion, keeping within limits of visual approbation of other’s points of order, till they suss out the particular person on the platform or blog that has a certain higher level of authority and they will then gravitate in a very short period of time to echo that authority, all the while gaining confidence through a certain level of cluster anonymity (hem-hugging) to become more assertive and accusatory of the one person under attack.

I wrote of this marvel back in 2021 after the disastrous failure of Labor to gain office in the 2019 Federal election..here (this was originally posted on one of those social media sites I was “cancelled” from);  https://freefall852.wordpress.com/2021/02/14/clustering-the-new-tool-for-electoral-success/  …The use of “Identity politics” by both the Conservatives AND the Greens recruited enough swinging voters along with the gormless “woke” left to allow the incumbent, incompetent, corrupt govt’ of the day retake office and inflict another 3 years of disaster upon the most vulnerable..

This inherent weakness in the human condition has been drawn upon throughout history, but with the electronic age and the rise of social media as not only a tool for communication, but now a weaponised instrument for mass/mob judge, jury, executioner, to use in its favour..never has such a cowardly thing been made more mainstream..We have witnessed many times the brutal use of this cudgel to beat-down, bludgeon and crush opposition of whatever shade of opinion debated, until it is now become an “influencer” in its own right of perhaps even the judiciary itself…certainly the political arm of government and perhaps now the financial arm also…for what bureaucracy or business can stand in its way?..the irony being that the mob will not balk at crushing an individual standing in its way, but seems to go-to-water if called upon to instigate mass revolution to change an entire social way of life for the better…

Curiouser and curiouser…

The Tradesman’s return.

Trade Guilds. 2 Chromo Lithographs from 1901 | Antique prints ...

“Trades-unions, composed of the workmen in the different

trades, were recognized in the time of the (first Roman) monarchy,

and no effort was ever made to dissolve them, until

they began to exert a political influence.” … R. W. Husband…Source: The Classical Weekly, Vol. 10, No. 2 (Oct. 9, 1916)…

By the time of the return to Roman Imperial governance with Julius Caesar, these Unions or Guilds were banned by decree….seen as “dangerous to public order”…It is now time for them to return WITH political power to RESTORE public order.

First, let me assure the reader that by “Tradesman”, I am referring to a gender-neutral title..there are many of both genders now working hand in hand toward the one end. “The workers united, will NEVER be defeated!”

Over the last millennia, while the Aristocracy, then the Military, then the Oligarchical upper-middle classes have fooled about with their power base, debauching, slaughtering and fiddling with both populations and economies, till we see evidence of their gormless incompetence literally screwing up the entire environment of our planet, driving a huge percentage of its denizens into refugee status and yet STILL proclaiming brazenly from all its various media platforms that THEY…and THEY ALONE are the best managers of political and economic outcomes.


Look at just the century past..At the start of the century, we had the last remnants of the inbred aristocracy drag us into their world war of pride and pomp and ceremony that claimed the lives of millions of young people…and then with the next world war, we get the rising middle-classes dragging us into their war of economic opportunity that claimed the lives of millions more…and since then, we have had an unending parade of greater or lesser conflicts and skirmishes for in most cases nothing more than political / economic or religious (the high priests of capitalism) ideology.

All these “players” that want to drive their peoples or other nation’s citizens into a game of monopoly control of either cheap labour or cheap raw commodities, come from the one central class…the non-producing, non-productive middle / upper-middle classes….NOT the trades, NOT the farmers or producers, NOT the service/ health carers classes…ALL..if not in actual position, then in aspiration toward the upper-middle classes.

It is time to put an end to this madness.

The representative bodies and unions of the producing classes have both the right and the capability to govern and manage production and economies. The rise in numbers of the educated working classes to sustain and improve the functioning capabilities of a society BEYOND personal individual grandiose statements, would result in an improved social status for ALL citizens of The State.

This is not just a pipe dream, an attempt at persuasion toward socialism or communism. We can now look to see which Nation States that exist as an example of civil governance that best caters for its particular peoples and which operate in a state of absolute mayhem. We do not need to copy in exact detail those governments..indeed, such would be foolhardy, some having enormous population control challenges, some having long histories of conflict with bordering neighbour nations..etc. What we here in Australia need to look to is that ideal which gives the average citizen access to infrastructure, education, health and secure employment that offers dignity of life and security of lifestyle. We are definitely NOT getting either from the continued rapine of our resources and working young and those whose health situation is vulnerable.

The trade/working class representative unions, coupled with the true “On the Land” farmers and producers..along with engineering and scientific research bodies can lift the nation out of the greedy clutches of an anachronistic strangulation of the conservative upper-middle class oligarchs, who have secured for their own riches, their own wants and scheming, the machinery of State. Their rusted and seized intellects no longer have the spark of imagination to set in motion a new world opportunity of “Equality, Fraternity, and Liberty”….Theirs is no more than a dark dungeon of despair, deprivation and desperation.

“Away with all pests!”

There is a measure of undeniable certainty by which to gauge the honest intent of a person’s capability to envisage, oversee and manage a situation, particularly if that situation requires knowledge of planning, supply, needs-base and results. That person may not need to oversee the entire go-to-whoa job, but they do need to have practical insight to envision or to pass over to others WITH PROVEN ABILITY to manage the project. This is where “factory-floor” experience is vital. It is in the space between proposal and approval that the “job-skills” of government members come into their own.

The upper-middle and even some of the old middle-class management styles are both inadequate and incapable of seeing long-term requirements of infrastructure needs above their “consciousness of kind” colleagues who lobby them incessantly for financial or political favour that benefits only their own class but is paid for and in the long run suffered by the producing classes.

Corruption, deceit, fraud and dishonesty are the hallmarks of this decayed and debauched class that has over time worked its favoured sons and daughters into positions of power and influence in both governance and authority. People who, in many cases have little knowledge or capacity to do a half-decent job. The one thing you cannot fake, unlike the “fake it till you make it” middle-class brigade that in the end never really “makes it” at all, or else makes a complete botch up of the whole job!..witness the NBN, the NDIS, the ABCC, ASIC, ACCC, the Productivity Commission, the Fairwork Commission and Government itself!!…we could go on….the only thing you cannot fake is hard work…honest application to create out of raw materials, be they animal, vegetable, mineral or human…is that end result that is visible, tangible and applicable in a practical sense…NOT some will-o-the-wisp rubbish that is only “funded-for-fun” for speculators and investors seeking profit above utility..profit above people. The producing classes can and do deliver the staple infrastructure that is the foundation, the building blocks, structural design and finishing touch to the WHOLE of society!….It is the working trades that are the backbone of production and living standards of ALL societies in any time in history…All religious / ethical beliefs follow from them…and ought to give credence to them and in the end offer thanks to them.

We have seen the damage that the unskilled and unqualified can do…It is time to go one better..it is time for The Tradesman’s Return.

Beauty or The Beast..

The Beauty or The Beast.

“I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by

                madness, starving hysterical naked,. . .”

So Ginsberg wrote of his generation’s numbing anger,

A blinded generation with war and thunder,

Lost in the screaming soul of drug-filled madness..

But we..we of the boomer years climbed out of

That pit of despair and lifted our eyes away from

Their brutish glare..their military ideals lost in despair..

We broke the back of The Beast with an idea of love,

We looked toward a brighter horizon,

Threw off the cloak of sackcloth and ashes,

And with The Beast of foul duty firmly shackled,

We looked forward to an age of Aquarius tackled..

In doing, we neglected to put The Beast to death,

We ought to have taken from it, it’s last, foul breath.

Our own weakness was to let it lay..let it rest,

Till it again grew strong and we lost the will to resist,

For that Beast hath deep knowledge of human weakness,

And somewhere between our new society and eternity,

We failed to distinguish the line between ugly and,

That which is Beauty…between the ugly and Beauty,

You’d think there be no choice…to choose wrong be blind crazy!

Not withstanding, we chose the ugly because it being easy,

It filled our hunger for want and with greed did enthral,

(For that Beast hath deep knowledge of human weakness ),

Losing to us the sight of love..Beauty so despoiled,

Base madness now has returned to engulf us all,

Turning us into raving fools..forgetting the lesson of Babel,

Blind, hysterical madness returns..now The Beast..will lay us waste..as it is able.

The Advanced Society.

Indigenous mollusc mounds.

The Advanced Society.

We must write our own mythology.

There is an integral ingredient missing from the Australian story…and it is the awakening of a mythology for us newcomers to this land to hold as a kind of stabilising talisman to give us security of purpose and a direction toward the future…much like the Ancient Greeks held their mythology close to their lives as lessons of greater or lesser ethical or moral observation.
The Indigenous peoples have theirs solidly fixed to their skin…there are many whites who want to “sew” that ancient mythology to their own cloth…it may be a comfort, but surely it is a cold comfort in that the obvious differences of tribe or clan or ancient bloodline just cannot be compared.
But no…we settlers have been in this land for over two hundred years now, and it just may be time to take those first child-like steps to weave our own tapestry…and certainly it must be crossed and interwoven with those first peoples, because we have dragged them struggling and under restraint into our story-line…I am certain they are on the cusp of breaking free and resuming their own mythological destiny..but we too must commence to write the song-lines that willl tie us to this country..and secure for our children’s children’s future as secure a sense of “belonging” as those long-lived first peoples…

In his book The Road to Serfdom, Freidrich Hayek asserts that the economic freedom of capitalism is a requisite of political freedom… with continual growth being the mechanism that feeds such “economic freedom”.

So we have to propose the question : What makes an “Advanced Society”?

Could it be that as proposed by Hayek above?..Or is it something more basic…more durable…more sustainable than the capitalist notion of continuous growth / continuous consumption? Can it be presumed that a technological advanced society holds greater ethical dominance and therefore deserved racial dominance over the more stable tribal structures that once were spread throughout the Australian environment for tens of thousands of years?

Consider these examples..

Eucalyptus Largiflorens (Black Box) : Distribution and occurrence: Local community dominant, in grassy woodland on heavy black clay soils in seasonally flooded areas;

In this area of Sth. Aust’, primarily restricted to ex swamp-lands. This tree, like many that have evolved to an environment-specific location can be found near my residence in the Mallee. Like the Mallee trees everywhere, it has evolved in a stable, static environment over many thousands of years..indeed, you can see that a multitude of trees and understory in the Mallee bio-forest were reliant on such a stable environment for them to spread so wide, so far in such profusion. Any extreme disruption of climate or landscape would have changed the appearance and bio-diversity of the entire forest and it’s denizens..THAT is a “given”. We have to accept : The very existence of such a bio-forest system proves beyond argument that the geography where they settled, took root and evolved was stable, static and sustainable for a very long period of time.

This is an important point to my argument..we have to understand and accept that the Mallee bio-forest, from the dry-lands to the swamp-lands, from the canopy to the forest floor is a unique interconnected species specific / environment specific entity that relies upon a stable, static geophysical situation to maintain it’s integrity. Certainly, that integrity has been corrupted over the last two hundred years since settlement to the point where we cannot truthfully claim that pristine Mallee exists anymore at all. It has become a victim of “continual economic growth”…and one has to logically conclude that in the last resort of sustainable life ; if the environment fails, then so too will the society that killed it.

Likewise, if we look at the indigenous peoples who lived and thrived for many thousands of years along the Lower Murray and The Coorong in Sth. Aust’. I will not even attempt to disassemble the complex tribal structures that existed along the lower Murray River…it would be presumption on my part and liable to insulting error. Enough to point out that settlement is proven for many thousands of years. Indeed, carbon dating of one site of middens (discarded mollusc shell-heaps along The Coorong) alone put it back to 2.500cal BP. (2.500 yrs. Old)…so we have evidence that of the many sites scattered along the seaward-side of The Coorong there was regular gathering and consumption of a reliable food source by the indigenous peoples for thousands of years. I have seen these middens many years ago…scattered amongst the site were numerous camp-fire circles, denoting the practice of stopping, gathering, cooking and consumption of the food and presumably the social intercourse that accompanies such moments.

For such feasting to have taken place (these middens are huge!), would prove the reliable, regular supply of the molluscs and the reliable, regular harvesting by a group of peoples familiar with and capable of attending to such a chore on a continual basis for thousands of years. I know the geography of The Coorong well..on the seaward-side we have bountiful harvest of shell-fish, on the landward-side we have bird and mammal life…the evidence of indigenous people’s fish-traps on The Coorong, indicate regular harvesting of food there, the abundance of fresh water from the natural Sth. East drainage system then in place, guaranteed the presence of kangaroos, emus and sundry wildlife for food and clothing…in all, one must admit, that along with the temperate climate, not a bad place to reside…indeed, it could be considered almost an idyll..and reside here people did ..undisturbed for many thousands of years…mark that!…food, clothing, shelter of a quantity and quality that remained in-situ for many thousands of years…exploited but not over-exploited..harvested but not depleted..lived with but not dominated..and perhaps it could have gone on for time immemorial..like it already had…if not finally destroyed by the kind of “advanced society” lauded by Mr. Hayek at the start of this article.

So tell me..: What constitutes an advanced society?..is it the one who uses it’s developed technology to invade, subjugate, desecrate and finally, perhaps, annihilate that very environment it relies upon for it’s life…or is it the other who, with astute observation recognizes a “line” between sustainability and destruction, and by managing it’s population ,refuses to be tempted by the possibility of a gluttony of temporary riches and maintains a judicious, salubrious lifestyle and culture for many thousands of years, visiting the same locations for food, clothing, shelter without desecration nor selfish accumulation?

So YOU tell me.: Who has the most “advanced society” ?



(Emails to and from an old tradesman friend)

Len Riley.

to me.

Dear Joe

    I have been thinking lately about my hands [no, I haven’t lost it} 

It occurred to me after reading the piece you recommended to me. I have spent some time around Adelaide CBD and I can no longer tell people, mainly my Grandchildren that I knew the bloke who built this stone surround to the Bonython Fountain [Richard Carli] it has been replaced with a non-descript piece of ,”art” As John Ruskin stated ,” and I will show my children , this is the work my hands hath wrought”. I look long and hard at my hands and sadly remember the work they have done. Each scar and knobbly joint has a reason to be there. It tells a tale of work, of time and patience spent carrying out work as a tradesperson. Should I be proud of such malformations or should I hide them in shame. I prefer pride to shame as each imperfection tells a story of endeavour. I have conquered much in life but still have more to overcome. I cannot predict my end/demise, it may be quick or slow but I know for certain it will come. I am not a morbid person or suffer from  depression, I am a realist and hunter. Once I accept my human frailties there is nothing to fear. I am holding my hands out at arm’s  length  {no pun intended] I realise that most damage is to the left  hand, the hand that holds and guides. The right hand held a saw or swung a hammer, whilst inflicting pain on its partner. They were not at war with each other, they simply played a role in my work.[I have been lucky so far, I have spent 58 years at my trade, and still have all my fingers, nor have I broken any bones. Is that good I hear you say?, well it’s not bad considering my age and temperament. But my hands are more than an extension to a set of tools, they have held children, grandchildren, and  the occasional glass of wine. What will be their fate ? I watched my own father loose the use of his hands .then arms and finally his lungs. Motor neurons disease is not easy to watch, but he did it all with dignity. A painter and decorator by trade he relied on his hands to guide a paint brush or roller. To hear him ridiculed for his lack of skill at paperhanging during the early days of this disease, broke my heart. But back to my hands, I only remember them as passive weapons and only once remember them as being aggressive when I 

knocked a person out in anger. I am ashamed of that incident as it showed a lack of self control  on my part. I have noticed more recently that my grip has reduced in strength and I put that down to an over tightened jar or bottle rather than a loss of strength due to age. Age is a blessing and a curse that I can do little about! What of the future? Well as my mother in law would state, “ the future is a mystery that we’d be wise to keep , lest we gain a history that would make us wail and weep”. . For those who have read , “Carlos Castaneda ,A Second Reality”, we may well ask , what is real? My hands look real, feel real and I think they have done real work, [what  ever that is? But what I have achieved maybe viewed as meaningless ]I do not suppose that the nurse who opens a door to a ward in the children’s hospital even remotely thinks, well that is a well hung door, I wonder who carried out that work? The reflection in these matters is left to those who know which person may have carried out the work. So  what ?you may say.

I have a need to continuously learn and particularly in the area of IT. My hands are not dexterous any  more,  and even the simple use of a phone can be troublesome with my carpenters fingers [wide and fat] But I have digressed from my original thoughts on hands. We would achieve nothing without them and our society depends on all hands working without the skilled hands and the guidance by the brain nothing could be achieved. Even the great explorers, heart surgeons and musicians could do nothing without the use of tradespersons hands and brains. James Cook would have had to walk to the Great Southern Land without the ship builders. In classes I teach, I ban the word, ‘just’. We are never,’ just’, we are the accumulated result of others who have turned their hands to carpentry and other things. You can see by my ramblings that my hands cause us to think and contemplate. My dear wife says,” you think a cup of tea solves everything,” and my reply is,” yes it does” it allows you to stop and think for a moment. 

    I could not help but reflect on the demise of the great English wood carver, Grinlin Gibbons, who towards the end of his life found that he was involved in a dying art and turned his skills to carving in stone and although good, it was not to his liking. I believe he died almost penniless but famous, and it was that regard for him as an artist that carried him through to the end of his life. So what will we be remembered for and by whom. I remember you as a good shot, a good motor cycle rider. But who am I to promote our skills, so we have to rely on our children and grandchildren to remember us and they are more likely to remember us as a caring/loving grandfather. I think of my own son and daughter realise they know more about me than most people. They have witnessed what work my hands hath done and what skills I excel in and those I don’t. So now I work for them in a limited capacity or where and when they need me. But then I would have it no other way. I gave my son a wooden  car, a scale model of a 1927 Bugatti and my daughter several timber boxes with carved tops. The boxes are now set in bedrooms and used to house trinkets and keep sakes.  I am proud to have been a carpenter/drafter/writer and everything that went with it.

Yes I think my hands have done well!

Len Riley  6/10/2020 

Joe Carli. Oct. 8, 2020, 7.25 am.

to Len.

Hello, Len…
I got your email late last night, read it..stayed awake a while pondering on its substance and the mood of yourself (never known to me to be such a contemplative chap) that inspired such a tender and honest response…and quite beautiful in its admissions too if I may say so… Yes…our hands could be called those mute, instinctive instruments of our desire…I too have quite often rolled my hands around each other and marked the now dry skin and now lack of deep callouses. Thanks for the insight to your thoughts, Len…we may not have had much contact over these last many years, but I do often think on those days in the craft.. Can I leave you with another small but so true reminisce on the trade that I am CERTAIN you too will recall…regards..joe.    

Joe Carli Oct 8, 2020, 8:03 AM  

to Len.

Now..having had breakfast and that soothing cup of REAL coffee..I can also speak of our parents role in our upbringing..You speak of your father Len…yes, I remember him..quiet chap with always a smile whenever I recall him, I recall your mother as the more strident of the two..a registered nurse, if I recall..quite serious and determined..I’d avoid her out of my youthful fear of adult reprisal..no..not fear, just that youth / adult thing of those days… My own parents were a strange match…one of the first mixed ethnic marriages after the war..it couldn’t have been easy for either of them socially when I think back on it..Her for marrying a “dago”, him for marrying outside the cultural expectancy…I know it wasn’t an easy marriage… But my mother had youthful expectations of becoming a writer..or poet…and she tried and had several pieces published in women’s magazines..but that was it..and as I struggle to have my pieces accepted and read to any extent, I can see that she came up against that same obstacle that I have had to overcome..the grammatical purity that marks and brands one of coming from a certain class…a network of favour, introduction and influence..I’m not paranoid nor do I now expect it to change, for I am convinced at this my 70th year, that civilisation as we know it is not a carefully constructed edifice, but rather the result of a period of benevolent calm after conquest and secure by the political and military power of an ethnically superior force… After the passing of my mother..and her generation…back in 2014, I remarked to a cousin that I now felt like an orphan..for however that older generation saw their place in this society, be it servile worker or aspirant individual, they slotted in solidily and stoically endured the good with the bad and created a solid foundation for us younger generation to launch ourselves from…I now miss that certainty that they exuded… I have written a piece in respect and memory of my mother’s younger woman’s desire for that moment in the poet’s sun..at the risk of boring you (like I seem to bore so many other people with my pieces) with that piece written just a little time ago…regs..Joe. https://freefall852.wordpress.com/2020/08/03/the-collected-poems-of-adam-lindsay-gordon/            

Len Riley Oct 9, 2020, 7:59 PM     .  
to me.

Dear Joe
Our writing styles may be different but I feel we touch the same core nerve in our generation. Like you I now feel like an orphan with the passing of my mother 4 years ago on Anzac Day. An appropriate for her as she had served as a young nurse on the American airfields in the UK during WW2. She was a proud Londoner who married a young gunner whose father and grandfather were deeply religious {not a good match by standards in those days}   .  

Len Riley Oct 9, 2020, 8:53 PM    

to me.
Dear Joe 
Your summary of nailing down floors brought a wry smile to my face.. My very first job was to punch the nails in three homes all laid in Jarrah and God help me if I split a board at the end of a cut. After a week of that I had blisters on my blisters. I well remember the art of nailing pine floor boards,, especially as sometimes they had to be nailed with the oval type bullet heads. I can still feel the pain in my mind as I recall nailing so rhythmically that I would sometimes with the second blow bend the nail over my finger. Like you the boss would sometimes stand and watch as though waiting for a mistake [especially nailing WRC match boards] which was not hard to grant him as an apprentice, he would then lose his cool and with a few choice words storm off..  

Len Riley Oct 9, 2020, 9:30 PM      

to me.
If I can be so bold, I offer the following as one of the few poems I had published!  

Like leaves that cling to summers vision
Long into autumns cold
Tattered, torn by winds of seasons past
That long to break their hold
Crumpled, broken
They gather in some sheltered lea
And long to love and live and just let be, just be
Will winters rain rot them down among the growth of newer days
Or will a ray of early morning sun shine through a misty haze
And spring to life the vision of tomorrow’s dawn
That in the act of falling a more sacred wish is borne
To join the brotherhood / sisterhood of life
A circle in full turn
Or will the apathy of man simply gather them to burn
If only I had all the strength to take them to my care
To give them back their yesterdays now stripped bare 
Len Riley 1995      


Joe Carli               Oct 9, 2020, 10:05 PM  

to Len
A good poem…an internal poem…It hurts, what has been done to refugees..can I ask you where you had it published and have you had other writing published?…What does E… think of your writing poems?…I get condescension at best..ignored at worst..even a tad mockery..from various people..I put it down to class snobbery…at least I know my own worth, and I keep writing…I have to…have to get them out..      

Joe Carli Oct 10, 2020, 7:27 AM  

to Len.

I have for years been looking for other working-class people who write and comment on  their political/social situation…You seem to have been hiding your light under a bushel…I know you wrote an autobiography..but have you continued with writing…that poem was from 25years ago…have you kept it up?..I meet some good tradies, clever, intelligent, but lacking that reach to delve too deep into their soul to put poetry down..some fiddle with amusing anecdotes or “stream of consciousness” pieces of around 100 – 500 words about nothing much in particular..and are not to be taken seriously as writers in most cases.. I have not much truck with the idea of “art for art’s sake”..but rather like to work my characters to portray a social situation and I like to end my stories not with sentimental “happy endings”, but at least with the spirit of hope.. And yourself?… Quo vadis?…Joe.      

Len Riley Oct 10, 2020, 9:03 AM    

to me
Dear Joe
May be its a trade background but I too am a Labor supporter I worked for TAFESA for some 41 years and finally for private providers for the remainder of my time that makes up my 48 years as a lecturer/ carpenter. I was at Adelaide TAFE for about 26 years and wrote about 120 books [technical manuscripts] in that time. You can google me up on line but there are only a few books left now. I don’t know much about  intellect but I have always told my students that to be really good at anything you must continue to read, to contribute.. I would point out that to learn as much as possible about building you need a brief knowledge of Architecture,Fine Art  Entimology Botany and Science, About the Old gang at Kingston Park, it brings back memories, especially Maris and Harry. I came across another person who lived in the area, John L…, another Latvian but he was also an extremely good cello player and when I met him at the Conservatorium he did not want to know. Those days in the gully opposite the Zalup’s house were the best days of my life [carefree]. It is sad to reflect on our passing and where life takes us.  Regards Len     to name a few. I can still remember a young lady in the lecture theatre at Marleston Tafe asking me,, How do you know all this ,shit Len ,        

Joe Carli Oct 10, 2020, 9:59 AM  

to Len
I’ve gone a bit cool on Labor since I wrote that piece, coming to the conclusion that so many of them now are just middle-class brats without that base/core of working class ethics…too many also are from the private schooled network that controls the majority of authorities /judicial/corporations etc, etc of the country…I DESPISE the middle-classes for what they have done to the skills base of the common people over that last couple of hundred years since the industrial revolution…But I still persist in voting for Labor as the best of a bad bunch.. What has happened to TAFE over the last decade is a crime..me, personally, I’d like to “Stalinise” the whole mob of LNP bastards!.. 🙂 … I remember John L… there was also the “Crasts”(spelling?) next door to the Zalups…I believe the eldest girl was a very good chess player.. Knowing a trade let’s one into a world of knowledge not only of the one specific trade, but into the knowledge of methodology of structure, weights and measures..in a physics sense..and the world of manpower management and time-tabling…I did a couple of years mature entry at Adelaide Uni studying the Classics ..: Roman history / Latin..and then Howard buggered the whole system up and they cut classics down to the bone, making some courses bi-annual and taking the guts out of the whole department..I tried to compensate with other social science courses but I couldn’t get interested in them..and since I was there for interest and already had a career, I deferred indefinitely… I had to give the Latin away after passing the first year as it got too advanced in a grammatical way that my basic knowledge of English grammar let me down..now THERE’S and interesting subject..: The turning of Ancient Latin (that the Romans spoke) into the constructed grammatical complexity of Medieval Latin of the Popes and religious scholars that we use today..deliberately manufactured to stop the common people from learning it.. anyway..will continue later..Joe.        

The Art in the Heart.

Painting : “The Hay Wain.” John Constable.

The Art is in the Heart.

I wrote this piece in reply to a slighting of one of my stories on a blog I used to contribute to…

“Thanks for the support all, but I can tell you honestly, it is not so much the insults that seem to bother people as my replies to those insultees !…Rest assured..after fifty years working in the building trade, I can look after myself quite sufficiently…and I also would never think of myself as a writer first rather than a carpenter that scribbles some tales..My world as a builder is one of weights and measures…it is just that I have met, heard and seen so many and varied people/stories over the years that some of them just needed to be jotted down in writing…Like the above little story ( “The Last Lingering Kiss” )…so I am not insulted by that person’s attempted slight..as a matter of fact, the aligning of myself alongside Henry Lawson via their own subconscious comparison, I consider a compliment..after all, he could have said : “A Barbara Cartland you are not!”….so let us be thankful for small mercies!

Which brings me onto the subject of delivering such tales and yarns to the table…As I said, I am a carpenter first and I write stories in my retirement…so I have come to this ephemeral world of “art” by an accidental route..I have had no schooled instruction on how to frame rythmn or syntax in a paragraph or page..and my grammar is shithouse (thank you spell-check!) but I have learned a thing or two about delivering a story-line from the oral tradition (like say, in the front bar raconteur) to the written word…

There was a yarn spinner I met up in the Flinders Rangers many, many years ago while I worked in a Barytes mine there up above Quorn…he was the cook there in the camp…he was a shithouse cook, but he made up for it with riotous story-telling….Kevin Cotton was his name and by Christ he was good..and he’d accompany his tales with foot-stamping, dust raising and arm-waving at the appropriate moments so that the oral tale became alive with the telling.

But the secret, of course, in delivering “art” to either a viewer, listener or reader…is that the art of the story, music, picture is NOT in the artist’s work so much as already living and breathing within the body and mind of the passive audience…if there is no dormant emotion within the person, then there is no art that can awaken the “music” in that person…”the art is in the heart”..if I can put it like that…and that is why those old folk would buy those penny-dreadfuls or those Mills and Boons…and why that nun stole those pulp-fiction romances in the aforementioned story…they had the feelings locked away inside themselves and the reading triggered the release of those emotions….those harboured desires, the hungering of which The Bard called ; “Sweet Sorrow”…

On this “sweet sorrow” thing…that sad, soft melancholy for a desire missed and then waiting for the return…to be away from one you hunger for…the sweetness of the recent touch, yet the sorrow for the parting from them…some people see such as something to avoid…but personally, I cultivate it..hold it close to my heart…suffer for it, hunger for it…for SUCH is the measure of life itself…to know you are very much alive and the deeper the hunger the more fevered the want…the more you live until it can become almost an uncontrollable frenzy of sensual desire………..something many in our society see as verboten…….I love it..seek it…and I have to confess to you that I steal such from the women I know…I cultivate such a hunger for certain women in my life…a hunger made all the more fierce for the impossibility of fulfilment….oh that ache of want that can make one sometimes feel like crying out loud!!……….yes..I suffer..as the character in one of my stories hurts…: ” Yes Allesandra..it hurts..it always hurts.”….he says…I..say…it hurts with a delightful fulfilment….a wonderful feeling…such a sweet sorrow..know it, cultivate it and enjoy it, for life, with all its loves and sorrows gives it to us all freely!

And I learned in my dealings with so many clients in the language we use in negotiation or conversation that most language is spoken using familiar cliches and throw-away lines…and the art in the rhetoric is not necessarily in creating a new form, but in laying at the feet to be easily “picked up”, the familiarity of comfortable phrases that can be common to us all as those everyday feelings..

The skill of the artist is to deliver that “package” so the audience feels like THEY each, are seeing it and feeling the emotions in their own personal way for the first time. “

Artini’s Song.

Taken from ; “A Ukulele Opera”…

“Tess, the indigenous girl watches as Artini and Gemano work…she then asks why he sings as he cuts the Mallee trees…He replies…

“Well..I’m afraid out here, I am a prisoner and I am also dying..but slowly, and there is no escaping my situation..so it is either the tree or me…and there is no-one to sing for me.”..he thinks for a moment..”unless YOU want to sing a song for me?” and he smiles to Tess.

“I cannot sing your type of song…and anyway, you sing beautifully…can you sing another?”

Artini smiles again and his vanity is flattered..after all, he IS a good singer with a strong voice..He calls to Gemano..

“Gemano…play us the tune of  O’ Sole Mio and I will show this lass how we Italians sing.” Artini leans his axe against the tree and takes off his neckerchief..Gemano sits up and concentrates as he plays the tune of “O Sole Mio”…Artini makes up the words to suit his own mood and situation.”

Artini’s Song. 

“ O’ solo mio,

I am here all alone,

In another country,

So far from my home.

Working for the bastardi,

And the rotten food they feed me,

Without love, without hope and without fazooli!

O’ solo mio,

Will I never be free,

Can there be a lover,

Come and rescue me?

But these bastardi Ostraliani,

Say I must cut the mallee,

Without love, or hope.. ma fongooli!”

O’ solo mio,

This sun is burning me,

Like memories of a love,

So far away from me,

Will I ever see her again?

This side of God’s heaven,

Or am I, Artini to be forever condemmed?

O’ solo mio,

Every day with Gemano,

And his doleful ego,

Singing a soulful aria, (Artini ruffles Gemano’s hair).

He’s longing.. for his Sophia,

This is my fate, too late,

To return in haste to Trentina!

O’ solo mio,

I sing for my Paesano’s,

All my brothers interned,

Fed on stewed rabbit,

From a blackened urn,

Eat up, eat up, my friends,

All that we got, is in this pot, till this war ends!

O’ solo mio!

I am here alone,

In another’s country,

So far from my home,

And these..Ostrali’ bastardi,

Say I must keep on.. cutting the mallee,

Without love, without hope, and to that I say ; MA FONGOOLI!”

Tess and Rosaline’s Song.

Tess and Rosaline.

[A surreal scene from act 3 ; A Ukulele Opera]:

The stage is depicted as the river’s edge…with the cliffs over the other side moonlit…Rosaline stands on the near bank while the indigenous girl, Tess is seen over the other side of the river…the river is narrow here so they both can see and hear each other..there is a whisper of the wind in the gum trees and Rosaline starts to sing ( to the music of a ukulele) a lament to her sadness at leaving the river to go live in the city with her new lover, Enrico … simultaneously, does Tess sing the lament as a sadness on the drowning in the river of her friend, Artini and the passing of the river out of the hands of her people…they both are losing something, one is sentimental, while the other is cultural…their voices mix and match in song and chorus…and their voices echo off the cliffs of the river..

Sung to the tune of “A Londonderry Air”.

O’ River Flow.
O’ River flow, I hear your waters falling,
Tumbling o’er rock and rolling on to sea.
So many years I hear my name you’re calling,
While you’ll be here and I’ll be gone so far from thee.
And never more will I return to hear you,
And never more your waters be my lover’s cue.
Tho’ you’ll be here with sunshine glistening brightly,
O’ River flow, O’ River flow for ever so true.
When days are dark and my hopes they are a failing,
And I am lost as lost, your child can be,
You’ll fill my dreams with hope and promise calling,
And through the nights your flow will carry me.
Tho’ never more will I come to see you,
And never more your waters be a lover’s cue,
It’s you’ll be here in my thoughts so shining brightly,
O’ River flow, my River flow, forever true.



To be read in sequence with Puccini’s Madam Butterfly : “Un bel di, vedremo”…the link below.



(slowly, softly )

Awake unto this new world, my love,
Awake to walk into a new dawn, awake..
So doth sleep maketh thy walk more cautioned,
Must it also make our steps so much more astutely po-sitioned.
But let the rising sun now open our eyes,
And look out to the sky’s horizon.
Speak not now those words that must be spoken,
Let delay such words my heart doth dread……
For I fear such fear of it…..breaking.
Numbness maketh the hand hold stronger,
Forces to grip and embrace more firmer,
Deafness makes the ear sharper listen,
Take in those words that lie to your reason.
Blindness will make the eyes see clearer,
See the true depth of heart and falseness of tongue,
See the goals that your soul can reach for,
Disdaining those who would bring you undone.
(softly softly)
Distance maketh the heart grow fonder,
Let not such distance grow between yourself and mine,
For there is intent to break…those loving ties that bind,
To separate, each from each, to deliberately foil and plunder.
Their silence will maketh our lips sing sweeter,
Each song we sing we will sing much clearer,
Each note and each harmony higher and higher,
Sing sweet song from one voice touching another.
( much stronger)
Sing out my love, sing out…to the heavens!
Join in rich harmony our choir of the souls,
(very strong)
Let humanity only, hold the key to such eternal bliss,
Forsake the lost souls that reject eternity’s kiss!
Their path will take them to the depths of their own hell,
To wander aimlessly, swept along as hollow shells,
Pity those who would tread such a lonely path,
Into deep, deep, darkness and despair for lifelong last.




Time has it’s own beauty,

Patience to blunt the serrated,

Razor’d, edge of a shard of flint,

Ameliorate a Panther’s eye its ferocious glint,

Give reason to consider it underrated.


Time will soften the heartless blow,

Levelled by one who should better know..

Soften the scorn of that baleful scowl,

Give good reason to think better now?

Time has its own beauty..we must allow.


Tho’ pointless to plead hopeless case,

When torn from love’s warm embrace,

Heart rendered and broken anyhow,

Better to leave it rest a while,

Let kind Time balm a fevered brow.




Time has a beauty of its own,

Give to or take from great renown,

Favour for those would need respite,

To reflect upon events in the dark of night..

Who made wrong against what is right..

Time’s patient understanding will trip the light.

The Viper Box.

[Blue Viper]

Viper’s box.

Kenneth Williams ..: “I got a viper in this box………….It’s not an asp..oh no…some people think it’s an asp..but it’s not…oh no..it’s a viper…”

Eric hauled his vintage 350cc BSA motorcycle back onto the centre-stand and placed his gloves and jacket over the seat..his helmet he placed over the rear-view mirror…he ran a comb through his hair, straightened his clothes, dusted his trousers down and, extracting his handkerchief, gave a quick polish to his shoes…He then walked through the gate to the front door of the farmhouse..and by the by, if one was to look to the way Eric walked, a noticeable limp can be detected and further examination would reveal his right foot make a small, almost undetectable flick with each step that showed the result of an accident in his youth concerning the as yet incomplete training of the bay mare that pulled the sulky, shying at just the moment the young Eric hopped down off the sulky and the offending foot was run over by the wheel and fractured somewhat..in the bad setting of the ankle bone, the resulting limp was created that stifled Eric’s opportunities in both sporting prowess and appeal to the young ladies of the district.. so it was with a trepidatious hand that Eric knocked on Bennie Kroenig’s door.

“Oh..hello, Eric”…Bennie greeted the familiar person of Eric Lischke jovially “…What brings you to my door this time of day?”

Now there are two things here that need explanation..: 1) How does Bennie know Eric so well?..2) What DOES bring Eric to Bennie’s door at that time of day?

Kenneth Williams..: “Oh yes…it’s not an asp..Cleopatra had an asp..but I don’t ..I have a viper..I mean, some people think an asp is easier to run…but it’s not..oh no..my viper is not easy to run…it eats like a horse!…”

In the first case, Bennie is quite familiar with Eric because Eric’s parents run the local general store and he has frequent dealings with Eric in that store…as does all the Kroenig Family…which consists, by the way, of just three people..; Bennie, his wife, Elma and their one child..a daughter; Alice.

It was Alice who most interested Eric and by way of coincidence, the reason for this surprise visit to Bennie’s front door, for at that particular time of day, any who knew would think that Eric would be at the counter of the store checking out customer’s purchases or in the back storehouse sorting stock to place upon the shelves..yet, here he was at the front door of the Kroenig’s farmhouse to talk to Bennie, Alice’s father about a subject close to Eric’s heart.

‘…But where are my manners, Eric…come in, come in and I’ll put the kettle on…I’m afraid you’ll have to make do with my making the tea as Elma has gone to town to do her quilting classes…”

Elma is Bennie’s wife…they have been married many years and first became engaged when Bennie came back home after the war…The primary reason for their marriage was not only that they had known and were fond of each other for many years prior, and that they both went to the same school together, and the fact that their families lived in close proximity within a cluster of only three families in the area..but the engagement and marriage predicated on the reality of Bennie giving Elma “one up the trouser-leg” at the celebratory party on the event of Bennie’s return from the war and in consequence, getting Elma pregnant…a situation agreeable in any rate to all parties concerned, and the fact that the resulting child ; “Alice” was born in under the normal allotted time for confinement was of no cause for comment as it is well understood and accepted in these Mallee communities that the first child, being new to the situation, could come at any time, but any subsequent children generally serve out the full nine months confinement.

But there were no other children for Bennie and Elma for no reason both the parents and the local doctor could ascertain save that divine intervention had restricted the Kroenigs to the one child and that was their lot…The Kroenigs, on their part fully accepted the will of their God and got on with their life regardless…and truth be known is that Elma, witnessing the lot of other multiple birth mothers in the district was silently relieved by the fateful consequence and each Sunday at the Lutheran mass, would give secret prayer of thanks for her situation and applied her spare time to the local sewing club she had been attending since the days in her teen years when she would ride her pushbike the ten miles into town along a dirt road to learn sewing lessons from Mrs Auricht at the institute where the club still met every Wednesday afternoon.

Kenneth Williams..: “…The man in the carriage said; ‘like a horse, eh?’…”yes..I like a horse..I could do with a horse….but I couldn’t get a horse into a little box like thiissss!…oh no…it’s NOT a HORSE BOX!..oh no..a viper..yesss…but a horse..NO!..”

The two men sat at the kitchen table facing each other in curious silence for a moment when Eric, to break the ice and create a more comfortable environment . . .

“ How’s the farm going, Ben?…has it been a good year for the wool?”

“Well…you know the corporation collapsed and with that buying certainty gone, we’re on our own now..at the mercy, so to speak, of the buyers in the marketplace…and I can tell you, young Eric..I’m no good at bartering and bargaining…no good at all…”

“That’s no good.” Eric sympathised.

“nah…it’s no good alright…the farm isn’t paying at all right now…like so many others around the district..and I don’t quite know where it’ll go from here..” and Bennie sipped from his cup..”But it doesn’t look good.”

“Well I suppose it must be a help having Alice back home to help with the tasks?”

“Pity the circumstances that brought her back though…losing a husband like she did brings no happiness to the house and home.”

“He died of heart attack, I believe?” Eric posed.

“Heart attack be jiggered….more like a kidney attack if the truth be known…was never troubled by a stuck cork, that man…and if what I hear besides is correct, there were other “substances” he was more than familiar with..” and Bennie nodded his head and tapped the side of his nose..”I just hope he didn’t drag our Alice into his shady little world..” and Bennie lifted his cup to his lips and sipped his tea.

Indeed, there were rumours doing the rounds since Alice had returned after the death of her husband under suspicious circumstances…the drug ‘heroin’ was bandied around somewhat, but that word being one of the most vague and exotic words for a district and world such as the Kroenigs were living in, it had little dramatic effect on them..the fact that he was a drunkard was the more impressionable and easier understood fault of the passing of Alice’s husband.

Eric, of course, was familiar with the rumours floating around the town, being on the front-line of the gossip pool as counter-jumper at the local store, he heard first hand every sanctimonious, schadenfreudian and salacious accusation levelled at all and sundry in the citizen body of that little country town..and in the case of Alice, whom he had worn a heart on his sleeve for many a year, this was another reason that brought him to front the door of the Kroenig’s farmhouse.

Eric was getting older and still unmarried and alone after all these years…his gammy leg, added to the impression given of his simple minded attitude to life in general made him a small target for any woman looking for future prospects in a son of the owners of the local general store…even IF he DID have the beneficial inheritance prospects for the future…the prospect of fronting his person for the rest of one’s life in a situation of marriage was just too much for any prospective young woman in the district to contemplate..indeed, Eric did try his luck on Alice many years ago when he was a tad more confident of both his personality and person, only to be looked up and down like a totem-pole and then firmly, if not…quite…scornfully rejected by Alice…it was the one and only time Eric had propositioned any women thereon in up until he heard of Alice returning to the family home after the death six months gone of her husband…it was in such a circumstance that Eric considered his chances more favourable to ask for the hand of Alice this second time..even if to herself it could be seen as a “marriage of convenience”..and it was in coming to the family farm that he sought to seek a more favourable response..

Kenneth Williams..: “ I also would like to have a fish..but I haven’t got a fish in this box..I couldn’t get a fish in this box..a fish would need water…and cardboard is not waterproof..oh no..they haven’t waterproofed cardboard yet!….or if they have they haven’t told me…….”

On this front, Eric thought he was on solid ground…the prospects for Alice to regain a respectable living standard rested on her still reasonable age and looks to remarry and establish herself in the district as wife and mother with one of the more established families as indeed was Eric’s…and since Eric was aware of the lately closing and settling of several old family accounts at the family store, demonstrated the passing from the district of much of the “old stock”, leaving evidence of a state of ennui prevailing among the farming community, pointing a spiralling toward the beginning of the end of a once thriving agricultural district…added to this the arrival of those considered flotsam and jetsam from the outer suburbs of the capital of the state…desperates seeking cheap accommodation and cheaper living standards that kept himself and his brothers on their toes for shoplifters and the like…the fact even that the shop had its front doors forced on more than one occasion demanding a fortified security system unheard of in the history of the store and town..gave Eric confidence his proposal to Alice for marriage would meet with a more favourable reception than the last..

“I have been considering selling up, to be candid..” Bennie continued “What with the failing crops and the market gone out of it, coupled with Elma and my age and the threatening health of us both, there’s not much to keep us here…young William Schmidt has demonstrated interest in the place since he purchased the east paddocks off his old Aunt there, the addition of this farm would give him a continuity of acreage right through from the Stiller’s spread to the pipeline..a very useable spread of country…and he being a young fellah, he could develop it.”

“What would Alice do?” Eric asked.

“Alice!?…..well, I suspect she could pick herself up another fellah and make a new life of her own.” And Bennie squinted one eye whilst looking toward Eric meaningfully…”..is this the purpose of your visit, Eric…to ask about Alice?”

Eric shifted his person in the kitchen chair so it creaked in the quiet afternoon air….in the silence of that moment, he became aware of the television being on in the lounge area in the next room and he presumed, accurately, that this was the occupation of Bennie when he intruded with his knock on the door..Eric turned his head to indicate the sound coming from the lounge..

“Ah…yes..I was watching the afternoon show on the tele’ ..” Bennie confessed..”there’s a very funny episode with that fellah that starred in those “Carry on” films”…and snapped his fingers several times in recalling the name…”what is it ..what is it…” suddenly his eyes lit..and he leaned into the table toward Eric…” Kenneth Williams…that’s it…yes…that poofy looking chap…Kenneth Williams..he’s doing a show by himself on stage…weird sort…funny but…love those Carry On films..as does Elma..we both have a sidesplitting laugh whenever they come on..” and he chuckled a little at the thought..

Eric let it slide..

“Yes…I suppose that’s the nub of my visit, Ben..I did come to ask if I could take Alice’s hand…”

Bennie tapped his fingers on the table top and gave the idea some thought..he then raised his face to look to Eric..and Eric could not help but see a sadness wash over Bennie’s features as he cogitated on the (unknown to Eric ; the impossibility) the reality of his Alice hitching up to the likes of Eric Lischke.

“Well..I s’pect THAT is a question you’ll have to ask Alice about, Eric…” and that was all he would offer in the way of advice to what he saw as a hopeless quest.

In the hiatus of the accompanying silence and soft mustiness of that kitchen, the chatter of the television seemed to increase in decibles enough so that the talk show voice could now be heard clear in the kitchen where they sat in pensive contemplation…

Kenneth Williams..: “I haven’t got a toad in here if that’s what you’re thinking..you wouldn’t catch me with a toad I can’t abide toads..urr..vipers devour toads and I’m glad they do..serpents hear through their jaws, you know…it’s the bone structure that does it..”

“But at the moment, Alice is not here..though I expect her back at any time…she was picked up by a friend of her late husband’s to go to Nuri’ and said she’d be back before tea…so there you go..”

Eric could see that Bennie had tired of the chat and was of an itch and a scratch to get back to the television show…so with the cursory thanking yous and such forth, Eric bade Bennie cheerio and assured him he would indeed ask Alice the next time he met her..and he showed himself out..

It was outside in the clear air of the mallee afternoon whilst kitting up for the ride home that Eric saw Alice get out of a tatty old ford car driven up at that moment by a seedy looking chap with long hair and beard..the man squeezed Alice’s arm on her alighting and whispered something menacing to her as she did so..Alice pulled her arm away and shut the door forcibly, and the man accelerated away with a spinning of the wheels and drove off.

“Hello, Alice.” Eric greeted..

Alice didn’t look too accommodating for idle chat at that moment, but made the best of it..

“Oh…hello Eric…you come to see dad?”

“Well…I’ve seen him…and now I’m seeing you…how are you, Alice?”

Alice shrugged and looked at Eric’s motorcycle..

“You still riding this old thing…why don’t you get a more modern one?” and she wrinkled her nose at the saying…and as she scornfully roamed her eyes over the machine, Eric couldn’t help but notice her absently scratching at her lower arm that was covered with a long sleeve even on such a warm day as this..

“You got an allergy?” Eric asked..

“Yeah…maybe..” Alice seemed irritated by Eric’s concerned question “Why..what business is it of yours..”

Eric was taken aback by the shortness of Alice’s temper..

“I was just thinking that this is the time of year for such things..”

“Yeah..well…I suppose so…sorry for getting angry…” and Alice then turned her head toward Eric like she saw him in a differing light..”It’s just that I owe Steve…the bloke you saw dropping me off…some money and he’s after me to pay him back..”

“How much do you owe?” Eric asked..

“Oh..it’s only twenty dollars..but he’s shitty on it..” and Alice looked hopefully to Eric..” I don’t suppose you could lend it me….it would only be until the dole cheque comes through and then I’ll pay you back!..” Alice hastily finished and she set to scratch her forearm again..

Eric thought for a moment..for money was inculcated into his psyche by his parents as the creed of faith of his family and class..but the immediacy of the request overrode for the moment his caution…but just for the moment…for in the passing moment of his assessing the scene of Alice arriving with the suspicious man and the subsequent behaviour between them, put together with the strange temper of Alice herself then the sudden softening of her attitude toward him in regards to her asking for money, Eric’s natural radar of suspicion honed in on what was the actuality of the situation between himself and any possibility of his dream of starting a life over with this woman in front of him…and he paused in his response..and in that hiatus between the action of “giving and receiving” that allows us clear insight of the moment of doing the action, Eric had a clarifying perception of their situation..for whatever her relationship with himself, this was not the same Alice he had harboured feelings for all these years and to whom he was on the cusp of proposing to….and a sinking feeling of a lost cause swept over him and he could feel all the warmth of his first sighting of Alice this day become but a mockery to his vanity and a sudden, sharp, bitter hatred of life’s false promise overtook him…and in the swift, cruel battering of this awful truth, Eric could hear in a faint waft the silly words of the comedian playing out on the television that day..;

Kenneth Williams.: “I haven’t got a bee in here..I don’t know why you think I got a bee in here..I got no bee in my box..you listen..you can’t hear it buzzing..there are no fangs on a bee..vipers have fangs..they are very fangy creatures are vipers…”and the absolute absurdity of the comedian’s chatter matched to a word in equal absurdity his dreamsand his fantastic imaginations..they struck and battered his ego to a pulp so he nearly slumped to the ground there and then…Eric leaned onto the seat of his motorcycle for a moment…He then quickly regained his composure…

Eric took his wallet from his jacket pocket and opening it, he saw a fiver, a twenty dollar note and a fifty dollar note…Alice gazed pensively at the notes in his wallet..Eric pinched the twenty dollar note in his fingers to extract it…he then looked to Alice, who returned such a pitiful, hopeless gaze to him that he stopped…and he then knew why the temper, the conversation between Alice and the man she owed money to and the scratching…he knew..he knew..then with a sharp, snapping action took the fifty dollar note from the wallet and pushed it into Alice’s outstretched hand and without a second look toward her, quickly pulled his helmet on lest some wetting tears in his eyes would be seen by the woman and he mounted the motorcycle, started the motor and rode out of the gate of the Kroenig’s farm swearing in his heart, never, never to return.

The passing of the amateur.

Horse Labor Instead of Tractors – Small Farmer's Journal

If I consult this little pencilled in book of a shopping bill from a Mr. D. Lambert & Son, general store and victuals supplier of Towitta, for the fortnight in February 1936, I see that a packet of Yo-Yo biscuits was a mere 7 pence, and while the entire shopping for that bill was a total of 1/14/7 (one pound fourteen shillings and seven pence) there was deducted for 4 dozen eggs and 6 pounds of butter as barter for a total of 9 /6 pence taken off the bill….and then Mr. Lambert would continue on his way in his horse and sulky delivery wagon to the next family farm to repeat the procedure…a round trip he did once a fortnight to deliver the grocery list and pick up bartered exchanged produce. A congenial and fruitful arrangement of the times.

These casual trades between shop-keeper and households were common fare in the times…there is also record of an Indian dry-goods trader used to do the rounds, selling or trading cloth and haberdashery goods, staying at this or that farm for a day or so then moving on. Of course, many of us from the boomer generations remember the “milky” with his plodding horse drawn cart running from house to house with billy-can and scoop…the ice-man and baker…of course, who could forget Mr. Hahn, the green-grocer, parked up in the suburban side street with a clutch of housewives at the back of his truck while he proudly showed them his cluster of fine fresh chokos!

All this was done in the most amateurish manner, the local trader, the (mostly) women of the house, the common supply of goods and the casual chiaking between them all….I remember staying at my auntys in Sedan and her delivery of groceries from the local store included one single biscuit..”Oh look…that silly man…just because I wrote ; biscuits / one…instead of a packet he sends me one biscuit!…silly man!” …such were the frivolous back and forth of trading in those times.

The same could be said for the male side of the farm in the cropping and upkeep of animals and equipment. The farm blacksmith shop an integral component of farming practice, needed to repair or invent parts required for harness and wagon…sheds and homesteads…the entire structure, social and practical a continuity of the self-sufficient amateur application…local women as midwives…local apothecaries with their huge tomes of folk medicine and a head full of experience and old-wives tales and “cures” that must have cost as many lives as they saved..possibly an average equally contested by some modern medical practices and could compete with the traffic causalities of these times.

But what stands out most is the skilled amateurism of those times. The time-lapsed photographs for the post and beam “pioneer hut” to the cut-slab and thatch sheds of the first settlement to “The new house” bracketed the obvious faults of the DIY constructs of the first to prefer the hired trades to build the second…and it was the pause in between the original claiming of the property and the sweat and tears that built up the family fortune enough to bring in the tradesmen to make the growing family’s life more comfortable and life in general more liveable…for the burden of home life of the times fell solidly upon the shoulders of the women. Whilst on the farm, developments in agricultural machinery remained pretty static right up until the second world war…the cumbersome stump jump plough the major improvement while all else was structured for application to horse-drawn machinery and it’s risky use, for horses could be prone to fright and flight, taking chains, harness, equipment and handler on a wild unrestrained gallop across lumpy, ploughed paddocks and straight through fences toward the home stable…a most unsettling experience.

And it was about this time that with the advanced development of mechanical tractors that all this came to an abrupt end…and with that sudden killing off of a labour intensive era, was the decline of community connection, for the mechanic and his garage has become the “go-to” person for both fuel and expertise of machine maintenance. No more saddler, blacksmith/iron monger..no more farrier and horse doctor of even the exchange of local knowledge on animal husbandry and with the demise of intensive labour farming, went the families to the city or elsewhere and with them went the town choir, the town band, the town baker, bank, church and assorted community businesses, not to mention the sporting teams..and in the end in some cases, the town itself…for the once “family farm” being bulldozed and the property held in the portfolio of an Agri-corp absentee owner.

But by far the most damaging wreckage from this demise was the loss of the ethical creed associated with labour and its work…the mantra of : “Responsibility – Work – Reward “ …to be replaced by the capitalist cant of Debt, Chance, and Compound interest. For tooling-up for the demands of this new era of “Agri-corp” farming meant mortgaging the family farm and then the squeezing of the profit margins to compete within an open market of high-risk cropping…pre-sale of crops and borrowing to sow, to harvest even in some cases to just get their product to market…the final result ; collapse of family fortune, community structure and the town fabric itself.

Welcome to the new world of “professional consultants” and political influencers…high debt, high risk, low return, no future for the generational family farm.

Goodbye to the passing of the amateur.

That “Australia Day” Honours List.

Image result for Delltones; Hangin' Five pic.

So now we got Australia Day coming around again, with, one expects the usual suspects getting all the gongs…..

Look..I’m not jealous, BUT..Why are there never any tradies given the gong for “job well done” when it comes to recognition of one’s efforts..Why is a fast runner, a media queen, a diligent scientist or even a bee-keeper held in higher esteem than your local honest tradie…ok, ok…your local tradie?…

Why are accolades of swooning compliments pasted with wincing obsequiousness icing-like over those selected from elite and popular pastimes while the merits of great..even supreme sacrifice to one’s trade skills overlooked for the glittering prizes…Whyyy, I don’t like to boast or to blow my own trumpet on such sensitive issues, but I have distinct recall of certain customers back in my trade-working days who would heap praise upon my carpentry skills when a solution for a particularly tricky bit of construction was called for..

“Joe..you’re a genius!” was more than once heralded upon my skills with saw and mallet..”How did you think of THAT?” was another fulsome acknowledgement toward my capacity and dedication to my trade..AND..not just me!..there were others…I’m sure…I mean..look at Keith the plumber who worked out the re-routing of the black-water septic under the floor of Jack Androlopolous’s granny-flat secretly into the neighbours sewerage pipe..They toasted a retsina or two to THAT idea..or Ron-th’-brickie, when he suggested it would be a better thing if they plastered over his brick-work for appearances sake..a solution avoided before out of mistaken sensitivity….but where were the accolades for THAT self-sacrifice.. those great achievements?..where the glittering prizes?..not for the tradie the PM handshake…the trophy upon the wall..the embossed certificate or that piccy in the paper..Nothing , save a disgruntled phone call of “So where the hell are you?”…or “WHAT!…more materials?”..and it’s back to the blood sweat and tears on the job without the least thanks..

And don’t even mention the cultural contributions gifted to the nation by the tradie…f’rinstance..I suppose many of you have heard the expression used in surfing mythology of “hanging five”..being, of course the practice of hanging five toes over the nose of the surf-board whilst skeeting down the face of a wave…Well..I bet you don’t know where THAT little icon of surfabillia came from…: Tony Simmioni and the fifth-floor concrete pour of the Waymouth St Telephone exchange back in the  60’s…Yep!..hard to believe, eh?…but there you go.. It happened that Tony Simmioni, the carpenter foreman in charge of the pour there, was standing on a plank on the edge of the concrete pour observing, when the concrete pump hose did a sudden flick, like they do, and knocked the edge of the plank he was standing on and it swung out of a sudden over the edge of the scaffolding and Tony was suspended out over the edge of the building, five floors up, in a crouching position, arms akimbo as he kept his balance and his front left Blunstone boot was hanging over the edge of the end of the plank whilst it pivoted and hovered over the abyss…and for just that short moment, before he was swung back to safety, he held that now well-known classic position of the surfer in juxtaposition with the wilds of nature at his back and his trusty surfboard under his feet, a mile-wide smile upon his face and those five toes hanging over the nose of the board…”hangin’ five”..

One of the labourers there at the time..a shortish blond-haired young bloke named “Farrelly”…”Midge” was his nick-name if I recall, was heard to comment upon the sight of Tony Simmioni wobbly-legged hanging over the edge of the plank..

“I reckon I could maybe hang five toes like that upon my “Malibu” surfboard down at Moana …”

Here’s the resulting song!.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pgx3p3wlqMc

And so history was born…but did Tony Simmioni get a mention in the song…noooo way..no accolades for the tradie…and another thing..I bet not many of you really know how the discovery of the “X-ray” really happened..but “Smokey” the clumsy, inept electrician could enlighten you…but hey..that’s another story..right now, I gotta go back and listen to ANOTHER boring story of the development of Quantum computer physics or something..


Empty Rooms…

[ In the Shadows…Saied Dai ]

Empty Rooms.

I stare into the umbra of my empty room,

Where shadows from flickering candlelight,

Dance a soulful tune.

In the shadowy, smoky, gloaming of my empty room.

In this gentle darkness I ponder,

In random thoughts I sometimes wonder,

On lovers I knew..way back yonder..

I snuff the flame of the candle bent,

And in that complete darkness, lament,

I no longer hold such beauty in my arms.

Nor experience again such feminine charm..

I loved them..not in measured lot,

As in..a bit here..a bit there, in preferred jot.

No..as does the universe expand to unlimited space,

So too does love grow broader the more we embrace.

And in this svelte, darkness of my room I see,

Every love I have so loved visit to me,

Face, voice, softly be..I see them all come to me.

Each in turn a comfort be, each in time and place to me.

I labour back over things and pleasures done,

At work, at home in reflective tone,

And I realise that I am here, in time, all alone,

Only me, memories, and shadows in this empty room.

But is this not the fate, surely, of one and all,

Alone..with such memories as thrilled us all?

A sliver of a smile as certain delights recalled,

Perhaps arouse that sacred beast corralled,

Before cursed age does condemn us all.

Melancholy Max’s Christmas.

Image result for Grumpy old man,.

An (Australian) Children’s Tale.

Melancholy Max’s Christmas.

Of all the characters throughout the Mallee, between the Murray River and Pinnaroo, the most well known and disrespected was “Melancholy Max”! Everyone called him by that name because he never had a good word for anything! I mean it!, You’d say to him:

“You bewdy ,Maxy, it’s frid’y, end of the week!” and he’d drop the corners of his mouth in his melancholy way and mumble:

“Hrummmph, just that much closer to Monday, and then more work”

Or if you wished him “Happy birthday Maxy!”, he’d frown and reply:” One year closer to senile dementia….Hrummmph so what’s to celebrate!?” and things like that, why, he’d find a fault in any favour, he’d even suspect “Mother Therese” of dipping her fingers in the till if he took the time to find out just who “Mother Therese” was.

So it got to be that people would go out of their way to greet him with exaggerated zeal, like a shouted ;

“GOOD DAY MAXY IT’S SUCH A BEEEEUTIFUL DAY TOODAY!!!” and give his back a friendly slap…but he’d just grumble and mutter;..

“It’s sure to rain”.

One of his pet complaints was about Christmas.

“What’s the point,” he’d whine, “we treat each other like dirt through the year, then try to make it up on the one day ..it’s silly”. and everyone would roll their eyes.

“Well at least one day is better than nothing ,eh Maxy?” someone would invariable suggest.

“Yeah, well, ever since my parents passed away, no-one’s ever given me a present!” Max replied.

“I’m not surprised!” people would chorus and then burst into laughter, “You’re so miserable, you’d choke a kookaburra’s laugh!” and there’d be more laughter.

It was one thing Max was accidently good at, making people laugh at his misery. And his lonnng face would droop lonnnger and people would laugh even more and they’d weep with laughter and cry:

“That Maxy….What a breakup, What a misery!…” and they’d laugh some more.

“Anyway,”Max responded,” I’ll never believe in Christmas till..till..I see snow on the mallee tree over the sheep trough in my front paddock!” and he thrust his chin forward and nodded his head as if to affirm the impossibility of such an event.

But the conversation had grown wearisome and someone said:

“Aw, push orf, Maxy, you’re making me sad.” so he’d trudge away shoulders drooped down the street.

But such characters as Max make their presence felt even when they are not around, like if there’s a pause in the conversation and no-one can think of anything to say, someone would sigh deeply, cross their arms and say..:” And then there’s Maxy!” and invariably another would giggle and join in with;…”That reminds me of the time Max was down in his dam up to his waist trying to pull his prize bull out of the mud ” and the faces around would light up with smiles in anticipation of the story (often told, always funny) about Max and his “Prize Bull”, whose name was “Cyril”, but which everyone else in the district named; “ALOTTA”. and when the tale was finished and the laughter died down another would say;

“As useless as a fifth wheel on a wagon”…or

“As mean as a fisherman’s gaff!”…or

“As tight as a ballet dancer’s shoelace” or again;

“He’s such a penny-pincher, you can hear the coins in his pockets squeal in pain when he squeezes them when he walks down the street!” and others like that.

But they could always rely on Maxy to give them a good laugh, even in the worst drought, there was at least a giggle to be got from the antics of Max!.. And you know.. this started to dawn on people….especially one Christmas when things looked bleakest, with drought across the land and Max grumbling and whining down the joy of Christmas…so that his ;

“I’ll believe in Christmas the day I see snow on the mallee tree over the sheep trough in my front paddock!” became his catch-cry over the years .

But this year, after the departing figure of Max was out of earshot, someone remarked, with cunning squinted eye and gesturing index finger, and reflecting pause, and held breath (for it was going to be a momentous statement for someone who never thought of it before ) .

“You know..”he said quietly” Max is right about one thing” and no-one asked “what”, they just waited, because, you see, they never thought of it before also….”We do only wish joy on each other on the one day of the year,….but Maxy…. Maxy gives us a present every day of the year”….

There was a moments silence, then the pondering became too hard.

“Oh yeah, what does Maxy give us?”

“Why, yer big dumbies …: LAUGHTER! where would we be without Max’s adventures?…with out his grumbling?….who would cheer us up in the hard moments if we didn’t have Maxy and his bloody bull?….can you see, you clods?…why, forget just Christmas, he’s our gift every day!!!”….and many a chin was rubbed, and many an itchy flea had to duck a searching finger for that moment…till, in silent but unanimous agreement, someone said;

“Well that being true, and I’d admit it sounds about right, then it only seems fair that we give him something in return. But what?”

“Well, we could stop laughing at his miss-adventures perhaps.”

“Nah! Max wouldn’t like that, He’s comfortable in that role.” and then there was silence as deep thought blundered blindly over the stony desert.

“I’ve got it!” someone cried, and all the rest leapt away from him in unison.

“Well don’t bloody well give it to us!” they cried.

“No..no, seriously, c`mon here and listen…we’ll get some bags of ice, powder it up real fine..and…”
Christmas morning,

Max woke up, rubbed his eyes and grumbled

“What a rotten dream, it’s the last time I have a vegemite-pickle sandwich before bedtime.”

.. and he wearily dragged himself out of bed and went into the kitchen. He reached for the jug to fill it from the tap over the sink, and in doing so, gazed sleepily out of the kitchen window down over his front paddock ……???? What do you think he saw?

There, covering the branches of the mallee tree over the sheep trough and indeed, in the sheep trough itself so that even the sheep stared sheepishly, was a bright mantle of what appeared to be snow! and, on a huge banner draped under the tree were painted the words:


The water overflowed the jug and ran down Max’s pajama leg before he closed his gaping mouth, turned off the tap and stumbled outside in shock………………..

“Well Maxy,” one of the guilty wags in the bar asked the next time they greeted him.. “And did you have a good Christmas day?” with a side-on wink to his mates.

“Welll”- Max scratched the back of his head as if in thought “Ol’ Chris Cringle did leave me a surprise on Christmas day; you wouldn’t believe it, snow, all over the mallee tree down by the trough in my front paddock!”

“HA!” they cried, “Now do you believe in Christmas?”

“Yeah well, there may be something in it, but do you know, that mean ‘Ol bugger salted the snow so thick so as it wouldn’t melt so fast!… Now the day that I can take a handful of snow from off the mallee tree over the sheep trough down my front paddock and swallow it without gagging I’ll believe in Christmas!!!!!”

“HOLY HELL for CHRISTMAS!!!” they all groaned. “Here, Maxxy…have a beer!”

Lay with me . . .

Lay with me my love,

And let our limbs entwine,

Tight fitting.. as fingers in a glove,

Lay with me my love,

Lay with me . . .

So our bodies together cocoon,

Locked as a couplet of pale, silvered spoons,

Lay with me and we will re-live,

Memories of a youth lost in loving,

In the old flat down “The Bay”,

When all that was needed,

Was sunshine..sandy beach and,

Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord” on vinyl,

With – all – the – time – in – the – world,

For us together to “dance the antic hay”!

Just the memory of that one sweet moment,

Give more than valid reason to say,

“Those.. those were the days!”

The Nesting Tree.

The Nesting Tree.

Come, friends, listeners, come sit near me,

Together we shall hear of the story I plead,

Turn life’s pages with its entrancing scenes,

Witness the unfolding of one’s living deeds,

And tell you I shall, the story of “The Nesting Tree”.


At the back of the old settler’s hut, there you will see,

An old, so very old, gnarled branched mallee tree.

It’s central trunk long dead, smoothed and grey,

Time’s caress removed rough bark and did sand,

All sharp edges from that tall, trunk so grand.


There is a hollow up a dozen feet from the bole,

Just to the left of a greying spar, bone sculp’d,

That give nesting shelter every year to galahs.

Their red and grey colours matched as a pair,

Returning season on season to raise chicks there.


Now, every summer of the last twenty five,

The same pair made that nesting tree their hide,

Come back every year for they mate for life,

There they’d patiently sit..lay eggs, raise their chicks.

There they’d return each year to reclaim their abode.


Galahs were there when we first bought the place,

There when my parents built the first house,

They were there long after I was engaged,

They were there when I left in a marriage done,

There when I returned years later with my son.


For the marriage failed, my husband a beast,

When in drunken rage I would hide from his fists,

All too often he would strike out in raging hate,

But came the time when I no more would suffer,

Returning to my home..to my father and mother.


And I marked the same with those galahs in that tree,

They too returned to reclaim their nest-tree,

That in the end I too did return to familiar territory,

Returned to that home where I could rest, be free,

Returned to safety in mine own “Nesting Tree”.


Is it our fate in a struggle to succeed,

That sometimes the odds fall so great against need,

So much hurt that leaves one’s heart to bleed,

That with the loss complete of all and sundry,

No choice but return to one’s own Nesting Tree?


And it was that year when loss I first redressed,

When I became more inured to life’s cruelness,

That I found a chick fallen from the galah’s nest,

Whether it be cat attack or just plain excess,

I never knew, but I held that chick in gentle caress.


I held that bird without hope, tender fledgling,

And I was of two minds as to what to do,

Leave it down and let nature deal the fatal blow?

Yet in its small, frightened eye, I could myself espy,

And who was I to refuse it balm, never has it done me harm.


Why not, with helping touch relieve its hurt,

With tender love & care, will it not sing its dirge?

“It will not fly free” you could say..but then, does a tree run away?

Does oyster glued to rock not wait in patience for its food?

So this bird too, some moments I’ll share, a little of life’s splendid air.


For its helplessness struck close to my heart,

Was I not also hurt in helpless compact?

And I thought it too I could grant a fresh start,

So I raised it up to a sprightly young bird,

And its company and song were the sweetest I heard.


Came the drought of those four long years,

The galahs never returned to claim their nest,

Very few remained in the paddocks and trees,

And I can only presume they left for fear,

Of dying in a land left barren and drear.


But my bird’s company and talk stayed with me long,

Long after my mother and father had “gone”,

Long after I had said cheerio to my son,

As he left to find work, another place, another town,

I could not in all fairness hold him down.


That left me alone on the farming property,

Alone with that galah as my only company,

For how many old folk had now passed away,

But it was alright, for I had my familiar ways,

My garden and church and community days.


But all this world of mine came crashing down,

Just when I thought the future I owned,

When my son, the father’s blood, took to drinking,

And in a state of drunken wild, a car-crash took my only child,

And left me with only my broken dreams to hold.


And it was on one day several years gone past,

Orchard and gardening the balm of my heart,

When the numbness of love lost had since passed,

Habit and routine had done its hard work,

Only leaving moments of sadness to burn its mark.


I watched my pet galah at the casement window sit,

Looking to the outside world in wistful sight,

And I couldn’t help but feel the moment had come,

Like my own search for a land of peaceful times,

To let her feel the strength of wind on her wings.


It was in the steadfast look of that galah I could see,

That it was looking, staring constant out toward a tree,

Its trunk bare, with a hollow, behind the old settler’s hut,

And following its gaze I could clearly conceive,

Its hungering sight falling onto The Nesting Tree.


It was many years that I kept as pet that galah,

Fed it, held it, laughed at its stumbling larks,

Cursed it for when it tore into packets of seeds,

And mocked it when it danced for its tea.

Its hobbling-bobbling a curious sight to see.


But on that one day it did dawn on me,

That I was now obliged to set it free,

For I owed it to myself to also believe in me,

So I kissed it’s crown and stroked it’s wings,

And opened the window and let it feel the wind.


There awhile sat the galah in steady repose,

As if deciding whether it worth the risk to soar,

Then turned to me and bobbed it’s crest..it knows,

Took a couple of times spreading wide its wings,

And flew away out to the sun in tumbling turns.


Two years passed and I thought I’d never see,

Again that galah that I came to set free,

Then one fine summer day near sunset I did glean,

Silhouetted against the brazen afternoon shine,

A shape of galahs outside my window screen.


And sure, there, as I stand so near to thee, my galah with a mate had come back to me!

We called out to each other with our own familiar chitter-chatter in repartee,

She pranced to me her mate by a nodding of her crest raised in laughing scree,

Bobbing and bowing in welcoming greet to me…..I reciprocated with exaggerated bow..”thankee”..


They then took to their wings, in resounding scream,

And I rushed to the window where I could discern,

They did fly true, fly free..returning once more,

As was done there first with her parent’s foray,

To stake claim for their new home..near to my home..in The Nesting Tree.


But there was no going back on the decision of the court that the property in question was forfeited to the Mayor of the “Koinótite Magdalenia”..Commune of Magdalenia…the decision was final and the substantial legal costs awarded against her.

Jessica Andropolous sat at the family’s kitchen table in a Melbourne suburb as she read the letter of judgement sent to her from her legal representative on the Greek Island of Cephalonia in the Ionian sea. Jessica cursed the name of that Mayor with every curse known to her rather young twenty eight years!…She also cursed the legal representative she had arranged when there on the island as she now had grave doubts that he was not working in unison with that Mayor….she then reflected on the situation and cursed, albeit more leniently, her grandparents for their oversight in leaving their home on the island to the mercy of the laws and care of locals of a past era..laws that had been changed in their absence of fifty years to suit the likes of the Mayor of the Commune di Magdelania, and locals who had in many cases since passed away.

If we go back to those fifty years hance, we will not be surprised to see a desperate people seeking migration to Australia after a particular brutal world war and then a particularly cruel civil war that decimated and all but destroyed so many villages and families..destroyed the local food production so that the times came to be called “Megalos Limos”..”The Great Famine”..which resulted in the Greek diaspora in Australia.

It was in this surge of migration that Jessica’s grandparents arrived in Melbourne with their entire family and posessions, leaving behind the house (then of little value), and in subsequent years of establishing themselves with a new home and gardens and work a-plenty..Then the marriage of their children and the coming of grandchildren, the old life was all but forgotten, as was the old house on the esplanade of the village on the island of Cephalonia. Forgotten also was the payment of dues to the local commune and also the upkeep of the house..then, new laws were made to allow reposession of property in arrears from both lived-in attendance and maintenance by the absent owners that allowed the commune to on-sell such property to whomever would repair and make good such property so as to maintain enough rental houses for tourists to the island each summer. It was on this legal provision that the Mayor of the Commune of Magdelania came to take posession of the ancestral home of Jessica Andropolous..and there ws now nothing she could do about it.

The shock of this reality first came when Jessica, on holiday to another property the family had on another island, thanks to the marriage of her parents, decided to travel to take a look at the old house mentioned in the family discussions. Upon her arrival and finding the house in quite good repair but with a solid padlock on the front door, Jessica took the opportunity of asking of a passing local the reason and owner of the padlock..She was shrugged off with a walking away gesture and told to “go ask the Mayor”. Jessica enquired at the local council about the circumstances of the property only to be informed of the above written situation..The anger in her person became palpable and ignoring the inquiry of the receptionist, stormed into the Mayor’s office right up to his desk to confront him with her outrage.

“How dare you confiscate our family property!” Jessica demanded “You have no right to presume ownership on something that is not yours by deed, title or payment!”..each point made more relevent by the stabbing of her index finger on the Mayor’s desk-top.

The Mayor, at first surprised at this invasion of his quiet space, recovered his composure to lean back in silent appraisal of this young woman’s….this attractive young woman’s accusations. After Jessica had finished her tirade, there was a hiatus of heated air while the Mayor resumed his position of leaning over his desk.

“And what property is that?” the Mayor asked. Jessica did not know of the exact address, being instructed by her father that it was the third house on the right from the street leading from the fisherman’s wharf… so she described it as best as she could.

“The house with white walls and bright blue window sills on the esplanade..it has two geraniums in pots on either side of the front door”.

The Mayor “Ah’d” in recognition of the said house on the esplanade near the fisherman’s wharf..He then settle back in his large chair.

“What makes you presume you own this property?” he quietly enquired.

This question was so outside of Jessica’s immediate understanding of her family’s ownership legality that she was dumbfounded as to its meaning..she remained silent with her mouth slightly agape.

“I mean, since when has your family last set foot upon this island to attend to the repair or upkeep of costs to both the commune and the house in question”. the Mayor continued.

“It isn’t a matter of how much or when,” Jessica had regained her footing “It is a matter of fact that our family has owned that property for five generations!”

The mayor gave a chuckle..

“Is that all?…five?…”

Jessica was outraged by his nonchalance..

“How bloody many does one need!?” She cried..”..three, four, five..it doesn’t matter how many, that house is still our property!”

The Mayor merely smiled back to Jessica and replied with that secure confidence of a native upon his own homeland and soil..

“Very well then…if it is your property, take it back to Australia with you…go on…pack it into your little bag with your duty-free perfumes and Gucci purses and take the ”bloody” thing back with you!”..the Mayor was himself starting to become excited.

“Don’t be absurd!” Jessica retorted..”It was here when my family lived here and it will stay here with me.”

“Oh…oh…” the Mayor began satirically..”when YOUR family was here…but they have not been here for many a decade..have they!?” he had stood now and was thumping his desk…Jessica stepped back a little, shocked at this sudden change in demeanour.

“No..but that was because they were forced to leave”…

“And who “forced” them to leave?…did my family leave?…and the families you see living here in this town…on this island…..did they leave?”

“…Well, no..I suppose not….but..” Jessica tried to explain..

“And was your family the owners of “the property” that far back they can recall when Cephalonia was part of the Roman province of Achae?” the Mayor making inverted comma signs to emphasise his sarcasm..Jessica could not even interject..” ..or when Cephalonia was captured during the Norman invasion of the Balkans in 1185?…or when the mythological Cephalus helped Amphitryon of Mycenae in a war against the Taphians and Teleboans?”

“Don’t be ridiculous!” Jessica interjected..”I have no idea who or what you are talking about…and I don’t care…I just want you to return our family home to us immediately..as is out right!”

“Your right….YOU are RIGHT…you don’t know…you don’t know your own island’s history, its mythology, people and its laws…in that quarter, you are SO wrong…the house was forfeited to the commune for neglect of both maintenance and rates..it was forfeited to the commune which in turn offered it for sale to recoup losses and I purchased it according to law and I restored it to a liveable condition, according to law and my ownership…so the house is no longer your family’s…it is mine..and now I am a busy man so I will say good day to you, Miss and wish you a pleasant stay on the island…” …and here the Mayor suddenly brightened up..he went to a drawer in his desk and extracted a key…he held it up with flamboyant gesture to Jessica…”Here is the front door key to that house that once was your family’s but now is mine…I let you stay there for the duration of your visit to show there are no hard feelings between us two..” and he came from behind the desk and pressed the key into Jessica’s hand….

In coming around the desk, Jessica could suddenly see that the Mayor had a limp..and looking to his feet, she could see one shoe had a much thicker sole than the other..

“One leg shorter than the other..he’s a gimp”..she disparagingly noted…” ..a chip on his shoulder”.. Jessica considered throwing the key to the floor in anger, but her calculating mind held her temper in and she clasped the key in her hand and without so much as a thank you or a goodbye, she stormed out of the office.

Jessica’s attitude and sense of entitlement came from growing up in a wealthy middle-class environment..true, her grandparents came to Melbourne with little more than the clothes on their backs..but with all the desperate ambition and drive necessary to take opportunity when it came their way and with enormous effort and hard work, they built a moderately wealthy lifestyle for themselves and their family…an “upwardly mobile” marriage of Jessica’s father into an established middle-class family gave that family the necessary contacts and where-with-all to speculate in property investments which was very successful in an era where massive migration demanded a massive expansion in building and commerce…Jessica grew up in want of nothing, attended the best private schools and graduated from a sandstone university with honours in business studies…she drove around in a red, sporty car, dressed in the height of fashion for her age group and attended social parties and lived the ”sporting life” of a young person without a care or responsibility in the world.

Jessica was an attractive, presumptuous, vain, entitled, young woman.

So Jessica wouldn’t take this loss lying down. After numerous phone calls to her parents and acting on their advice, she sought legal representation and had an injunction drawn up against the Mayor which she delivered personally with prompt and pompous performance to himself as soon as it came through.

Of course, in true Mediterranean nation’s fashion, such legal matters take time to work through the systems, so Jessica was “in situ” on the island for several months while this matter was sorted out..This gave the Mayor the opportunity to study his adversary in close quarters and it was after allowing a “cooling-off” period of a month or so that he decided to make his approach to Jessica.

It has to be mentioned at this juncture that the Mayor..Signor Stavros Antonis, to use his name, was a bachelor of fifty seven years, childless with no remaining relatives alive to give him support or comforts..He was a stylish dressed man of moderate weight that reflected his success and status…Stavros was well aware of his position in the community and valued his reputation therein..so it was with cautious anticipation that he one day approached Jessica at a table at an al-fresco café to make his pitch.

“May I?” he inquired to Jessica..who hadn’t noticed his approach, being too engrossed in punching with delicate manicured nail a message onto her mobile phone..she looked up and frowned.. “Please”..the Mayor opened his arms..Jessica relented and pouted her acquiescent displeasure.

“As you can see,” began the Mayor after settling himself at the table..”these legal journeys here can take much time….and money…” there was no response from Jessica..the Mayor continued..”of course, even while such matters proceed before the courts, the litigants can meet and ..perhaps come to some sort of arrangement mutually satisfactory to both parties.”…Jessica, on hearing these conciliatory words lifted her sun-glasses to the top of her hair and looked squarely at the mayor.

“Go on..” she prompted.

“I am in a position to offer you a very favourable settlement proposal for this entire situation…I am also in the position of needing help to resolve a unresolvable problem for myself.”…Jessica was by now intrigued..and the word “favourable” did interest her most keenly..”As you have probably heard around the usual gossip pools here on the island, I am a single man, in a good job, with a certain status of wealth and property…but also with neither kith nor kin to inherit my life’s work.”

Jessica leant onto the table and with her face supported in both hands smiled at the mayor..

“And?” she simply said..

“Well, my proposal is this…put simply…I want a son…” Jessica immediately sat bolt upright and whipped her sunglasses off her head..

“You what!..” she said aghast..joining dots faster than a printer’s press “ ..surely you don’t think…expect…” she didn’t finish saying what she wanted to say as the Mayor hushed her with his hands in a pressing down motion and shushing sound with his lips…

“You are not giving me a chance to finish..listen..I am not asking for your hand in marriage…heaven forbid..but I am in a fix..I cannot in all conscience to myself marry a woman on the island as I am already too well known as “the cripple”..consequently, there is no woman of respectable standing suitable to my station who would want to marry me, for here, in my world, the affliction carries on into the social status of the person carrying such an affliction.…and I cannot have a child with just any woman here as the families are so intertwined any inheritance I left the child would be fought over and dispersed till there was little left to show for my efforts these last forty years…but you…with your exiled family have no remaining connections to the island save that one property..You are young, obviously healthy and I could secure your financial future with the signing over of that house and perhaps more property if you could deliver to me a son from my bloodline.”

The Mayor, having made his proposal sat back to await Jessica’s response.

It didn’t take long..

Jessica threw the remains of her daquiri over him and stormed away.

By the same time the following week, Jessica was back in Melbourne extolling her outrage at being even considered in such a proposal by that…that “old, crippled gimp!”…

Back on the island of Cephalonia, the Mayor was drawing up his proposal to Jessica in a water-tight contract that he proposed to send…NOT to Jessica..but to her parents…for Sig. Stavros Antonis was very aware of the value of what he had to offer to the family of Jessica…a family well informed and well endowed with the same consciousness of kind appreciation of their universal middle-class values…for both lived by the adage ; “Every dollar has a value and every thing of value has a buyer”…Being the Mayor of a local administration gave Stavros insight into the machinations of petty greed of your average aspirant..He was not mistaken as to this insight as far as Jessica’s family was concerned…and after the failure of legal contesting of the ownership of the family house on the esplanade of the town on the island, the options open to the Andropolous family had shrunk to absolute zero.

So the hefty envelope from Cephalonia, with covering letter and contract enclosed arrived with a degree of surprise one Friday morning at the Andropolous household…Jessica’s mother, Elena opened the package and proceeded to read the contents of the covering letter…she had read the first page and then called for her husband to come quickly and read this.

Such attractive proposals put forward by the Mayor in the contract made the parents of Jessica draw breath, for along with an amount of “liquid asset” ie ; money, there was proposed to bequeath upon the passing of the Mayor half a dozen properties well located upon the Island…several of substantial size and status…The parents of Elena were well familiar with the value of such properties on such a Greek island…the holiday rental renumeration alone would be sufficient for a person keen on the indolent lifestyle to retire on and not work another day in their lives.

It was with a certain amount of suppressed anticipation that they approached Jessica with an opinion of sensible evaluation of the Mayor’s proposal, reasoning that their now aging daughter, with no marriage prospects on the horizon, nor any apparent intention of settling down from a frivolous social life of partying and casual relationships that embraced and disposed of boyfriends with such abandon, would look upon such financial security as an opportunity of securing her future with little more effort than what she already applied to her already frenzied lifestyle…after all, did they not inculcate in her as she grew, the core ingredient of her permitted social life pivoted on the value of money and collateral..if she didn’t understand this basic truth of their class, then all their own and that expensive private school education was a waste.

After Jessica roundly rejected the proposal, her parents reflected that indeed it looked like their efforts and her schooling was a waste.

Two weeks had passed since the Mayor’s hefty proposition had come and been soundly rejected by Jessica in spite of her parents coaxing to at least consider the proposal on the merit of the property offered as compensation…Two weeks since Elena had read of the generous offer of the Mayor if he could but have a healthy son delivered from their daughter via artificial insemination…He would leave it to the parents to perhaps persuade Jessica of the advantage of the offer.

After the initial refusal and outraged rebuttal of Mayor Antonis’ “offensive” offer, Elena had stopped her husband following Jessica out of the room with a firm grip on his arm and whispered quietly for him to “Leave this to me, I will talk to her mother to daughter…woman to woman.”..and she patted her husband’s arm and went to cook the dinner.

It was two weeks gone now and Elena had not mentioned the proposal…but she had been giving it much thought…very much thought..

“Jessica!” Elena called from her walk in wardrobe of the master bedroom as she saw Jessica walk past in the reflection of her mirror..”Could you come here for a minute please?” Jessica was still suspicious of her parents attitude, but she was softened now after the two week interlude. Jessica entered the spacious room to see her mother seated at her dressing table looking over her shoulder in the mirror..” Could you help me clip this necklace on please..the clip is so tiny and my old hands are a bit stiff.” Jessica deftly clipped the necklace on and straightened it around her mother’s shoulders..her mother gazed softly at the reflection in the mirror of a dazzling necklace of half a dozen medium sized emeralds set in platinum with a surround of fine, small diamonds set in small teardrops held by platinum clips…the cut stones glistened and sparkled from the surround of small lights on the make-up dresser mirror…

Elena sighed..

“Such beautiful stones!…I always feel as precious as the emeralds when I wear them..”

“Why are you wearing them in the middle of the day?” Jessica asked “Are you and dad going out tonight?”

“Oh..no..” Elena sighed and gazed at her reflection and flicked the fringe of her hair “I just sometimes like to come here and open my jewell box and try some of my jewellery on…it takes me back to when I was so much younger…as young as you, my darling.” And Elena opened a small velveteen side panel in the large jewellery box to reveal matching emerald and diamond earings..these she placed carefully on the open lid of the box…the whole of which was covered with soft, red, chamois leather..”They are beautiful aren’t they Jessica?..” Jessica was silent but totally enthralled by the shimmering jewells in her mother’s jewellery box..a sight that Elena was cunningly savvy of..Elena shifted a cluster of soft, glowing pearls from covering a small engraved silver plate on the inside of the box lid..she stroked that word and spoke it out to Jessica…

“ ‘Gethsemane’*…I had that name printed on the lid as I like to think this as my garden…my garden of jewells where I come to adore..not a garden of sorrow, but rather a garden of worldly delight.” Elena turned to Jessica and in a light encouraging tone said.. “Come, sit here in the chair and I will try this necklace on you..I do believe it will look delightful against your young skin!”

There was little resistance from Jessica to the suggestion, and as she sat in the chair, Elena unclipped the emerald necklace form her own self and placed it around the more delicate neck of her daughter..she had no trouble now with the tiny clip..and indeed, those sparkling jewells literally danced and spun with light in the eyes of Jessica…

“Look at that!” Elena praised..”Just so beautiful…but here..let us put the earings on as well..” and with the clipping of those earrings to match the necklace, a picture of feminine beauty was complete..Elena rubbed the shoulders of Jessica gently ..”I knew it…they suit you to the core…you know, Jessica this necklace is my favourite and most valued jewel…”

Jessica touched and fondled the valuable gems and in admiring her reflection in the mirror, she then quietly admonished her mother..

“This is about the Mayor’s proposal, isn’t it?”…Elena was taken aback by her daughters astuteness, but not really surprised, as a matter of fact, it pleased her..after all, the fruit, she noted, doesn’t fall far from the tree.

“In a way, yes..”Elena agreed. “ I wanted to show you the true value of a secure life”.

“But I don’t want children, I don’t want marriage…ever..”

“And you don’t have to have marriage…and you don’t have to have more than one child..but to have a child that will secure your financial future into old age is something to at least consider..after all, a single mother these days is no stigma at all..it can even be an advantage to a woman as it secures you an undeniable status in the community and with the financial security that comes with it, you are relieved of the tiresome burden of a husband.”

“ But he is so much older and a gimp!”

“The shorter leg is from a motor-cycle accident in his youth, so it will not affect the child.”

“What child?…I haven’t even considered his proposition.”

“Jessica..I was just twenty years old when I had our first child..three by the time I was your age..you are nearing thirty and have none at all and by all appearances look like not having any in the near future…are you expecting to live as a spinster with us the rest of your life?..like a fixture on the wall gathering dust and slowly losing your good looks until there is only the mascara and foundation creams left for you to make yourself pretty?..like one of those old and wrinkled Aunts who after all ironically end up baby-sitting such children of their relatives they themselves never had..” Jessica remained silent..Elena’s voice took on a sterner tone..” Look at me, Jessica..I am growing old..my skin is soft and flabby..it takes me over an hour to “decorate my face” so I feel glamorous enough to wear those jewells you have on..You have the natural beauty of your young years..use them while you have them..secure your future and you can rejoice without worry in many more long years of beauty.”

This argument from Jessica’s mother was but a part of the debate for and against raging inside Jessica’s own head..she could see the reasoning and profit behind the logic, but to actually commit the action of having a child by that man made her sorrowful and filled her with dismay..She turned to her mother and spoke.

“I know how this will be a comfort to you and dad..to see me secure and to retain the property on the island..and in truth…I am not adverse to having a child..but then to have to raise it and look after it…..oh mum…if I must do this then I will for your will..but if there is some other way I could pass on it, I also would like to..” tears welled in Jessica’s eyes..Elena cuddled her shoulders..

“Oh Jessica..I would never press you to do something you didn’t want to do yourself..This decision must be made by yourself…but I can reassure you the raising of a child, any child, is a whole family affair and this family is solid and all-embracing…so if you do decide to have the child, we will be at your side to raise it, feed it, dress it, and school it..”

Again Jessica repeated her sorrow and dismay and again pleaded with her mother that if there were any other way she would like to take it…but if that was the best for herself and the family, then she would bow to her fate.

“How many properties is he giving for the child?” Jessica asked.

“A half dozen…at the moment” Elena answered..” But with some negotiation, I think we could lift it to a dozen..”

“ A dozen properties on Cephalonia!” Jessica replied amazed “ That would be worth a fortune!”

“And who else is he going to leave them to…he has no-one else..and the gift of a son would be as a gift from God in his eyes.”

“Do you think he will sign over more property, mum?”

“With a bit of persuasion, yes…I believe he will…always remember, Jessica, there is infinitely more hunger in the buyer than in the seller..”

“Well, at least I won’t have to sleep with him…we can use artificial insemination”..

Here Elena went quiet and took up a position sitting opposite her daughter..she placed both her hands on her knees and started to speak..

“We…your father and I, have ascertained that Signor Antonis has around two dozen properties on Cephalonia, in several towns and villages…if you play your cards right, my dear, you may be able to secure his signature for all of those properties..”…Jessica’s eyes widened.

“ And how am I to do that!?” she exclaimed.. Here again Elena leaned in closer to her daughter..

“Jessica, you are enough of a woman and experienced as a woman to know that men will yield all their senses to lay with a woman…and if the woman is clever enough, she will tend his desires like one tends flowers in a garden…for with men, once the flesh is so fierce…so willing for the woman..then the mind of the man is weak….then you make your judgements”…Elena continued on a line she had thought out so many days before..

“We will book you a room in a fashionable hotel in Athens..nice but not too expensive or the Mayor will think you wasteful. You invite Signor Antonis there to discuss the means and the clinic of choice of pregnancy… and you will have dinner there with him.. and there in your space, in your time and conditions, you will, after some wine and conversation, offer him an alternative to artificial insemination…much less expensive and more immediate and so much more enjoyable..A natural method of insemination over a period of time sufficient to when pregnancy is obtained..and when he is most agreeable to your sight, mood and capacity, then you can up the ante on the proposal “with the condition of…” trust me.. he will not refuse one so beautiful as you, Jessica …don’t forget, he is the one in need..here, I give you this necklace and earrings as a gift to wear on the occasion…they are better suited to a young neck…yours is beautiful..mine now has wrinkles.”

Jessica stroked the precious jewels and smiled her pretty smile into the mirror…Elena also smiled and stroked the shoulders of her daughter..

“Yes..You are right, mum..they do look beautiful on me.”

Six months later, after serious negotiations concerning the naming of the child..Stavros’ father’s name first then the choice of Jessica’s with a hyphened surname…this time Jessica’s family name first…and the prospectus was signed and delivered to both parties…

There was but one detail left in regards as to just how many properties were to be secured in the exchange…the signed contract listed a dozen…but a one-word SMS from Jessica, from an exclusive hotel in Athens the day after an arranged meeting between Signor Stavros Antonis and Jessica, was received by Jessica’s mother , Elena, while at her dinner with her husband and her sister and their family…the SMS said a one word code previously arranged between mother and daughter…


Footnote * :


Then Jesus went with his disciples to a Garden called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The mind is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”


Balthazar is the second volume in Lawrence Durrell’s : “Alexandria Quartet”.. The exclamation mark is mine.

When I first read Durrell’s quartet a long time ago, I remember Balthazar being the most intriguing of all .. the reading of it left me with a feeling of sensuous delight in the language so astutely manipulated and managed .. For language as a written experience is,in my opinion one of the greatest and most acclaimed achievements of the arts of humanity .. and while painting as art is devilishly skilled, it is still a copy of many natural surroundings, likewise music is imitation of nature’s beasts and birds .. wind and storm and song the cry of an estranged soul familiar in tone and pitch to a rising tumult of mild zephyr to wild wind.

But to take an alphabet of letters that are assembled into accepted words and then to arrange those unfamiliar nouns, adjectives and verbs into sentences of not just legible script, but to frame them in descriptive design that can capture the sound and imagination of a reader to direct them down a road toward adventure, horror, love and desire demonstrates the dexterity of pure mental discipline to build, word by word, paragraph by paragraph that mood picture that we would wish to describe.
I have written many articles and stories .. some of which have appeared on this blog. Loving the fluidity of the written word, I find delight in just the sounds made in the pronunciation of those words .. I always have from a long, long time ago .. Some names of places have caught and held my awe in the wonder of place names .. :
Where is Samarkand?
Is it cry of bird strangely,
Or is it man?
And Byzantium?
A pealing of great bells, where
The name; Pliny, is but a tinkle.
And Jerusalem, Jerusalem … syrup,
As sticky as a bruised sugar fig.
Dar-Es-Salaam … a command?
If so, then consider its neighbour;
Like the last whispered word
From an unsettling dream ….
…………. Zanzibar! ……….

So it came as a surprise to me a while ago when a young refugee, Samad Abdul, posted his story on a “left-wing” blog..
where he opened with this sentence .. : “ That’s such a moment of blessing when you are with your best friend but that’s such a horrible moment when friends get separated forever.”

And which brought a cavalcade of accusation and degradation upon the spirit of his plea and the generic hopes of so many desperate peoples wanting a feeling of that “moment of blessing”.. The disgrace that was inflicted upon that young man’s story through nothing more that I can see than a envy of his desire for a dreamt of future whereas those who would deny him are trapped in a mire of mediocrity and drudgery unforgiving but materially secure .. no longer do they seek , having become satisfied with such mediocrity, they are quick to condemn those who still hunger for life’s promises.

In the novel; Balthazar, the search for truth demands confronting some rather unsavoury imagery and realities..this demands an unflinching courage to stare at and stare down such in the face of sometimes social adversary. As the paragraph below says.. ; From the Marquis de Sade’s story of Justine :

“Yes, we insist upon these details, you veil them with a decency which removes all their edge of horror; there remains only what is useful to whoever wishes to become familiar with man;….Inhabited by absurd fears, they only discuss the puerilities with which every fool is familiar and dare not, by turning a bold hand to the human heart, offer its gigantic idiosyncrasies to our view.”

Backing up the young refugee’s article, I posted a story of another refugee from another time just last week : “Saying Goodbye to Ferrucchio” ( https://freefall852.wordpress.com/2016/04/22/saying-goodbye-to-ferruchio/ ).. It also was in reality a love story .. A love story between the travails and sorrows of humanity that can come together in adversity and tragedy. We love as humans, we embrace as lovers, it is the continuity of life itself that neither work, duty or politics can stop .. So it was a kind of weird moment when I read of many twitterers demanding of the “Barnaby Affair” that we please make it so that ; “It is about the rorting, not the rooting!” .. weird … as if such salacious dollops of metaphorical body-fluids could be overlooked for the everyday garden variety of possible rorting behaviour.

And it was this hypocrisy where the story of the young refugee was met with accusations of misleading, deceit, possible lying and being requested to “prove” his legitimacy of persecution … and yet, in the Barnaby affair, we get the demand that we not ask about his private behaviour or life and do not inquire or require him to explain his tangled relationships … ”Leave his private life out of this!” we are admonished .. yet demand the most intricate details of the life of a refugee, any refugee from the time of their first fears of danger to how, what, when, where and why they fled their homeland .. and not ANY subsequent explanation by myself or others who had witnessed or experienced such fears could or would be accepted by these criothans of the self-elected “truth police” who in the face of so much detailed explanation stubbornly refused to shift ground.

‘Truth is what most contradicts itself in time.’ Said Lawrence Durrell .. I would add that “the telling of a truth gives strength and power to an argument, whereas a lie weakens the most legitimate claim”.

I’ll leave the last words in their sensual beauty to Mr. Durrell .. :

“ Profligacy and sentimentality … killing love by taking things easy … sleeping out a chagrin … This was Alexandria, the unconsciously poetical mother-city exemplified in the names and faces which made up her history.”

“Any concentration of the will displaces life and gives it bias in motion. Reality, he believed, was always trying to copy the imagination of man, from which it derived.”

But it is the blind, merciless cruelty that I find most offensive and disgusting, particularly from such whose greatest woe in life would be in equivalence to that which is lost by the refugee to the suffering of a mild toothache!

A pasta meal of fusilli ai ferri.

That was it, the “Decree Nisi” had come through, the “estate” divided down the middle…but the ex got the Family Ford, the big Blackwood dining table, most of the kitchen utensils and the family dog….she could have the dog..a hairy, aggressive Jack Russell bitch…she could have the dog!

A full year and a bit had already passed since that final separation, and now the divorce was finalised..I hadn’t even seen the ex for more than six months..I didn’t want to…the memory of so many trying years was enough to turn me away from ever wanting to see her again!

I retained the house as it was central to the final straw of that marriage..Meg didn’t like the house…or the postcode..both were too “low brow” for her..but then I suppose my enrolling in a mature entry course at the university to study Roman History/ Classics didn’t endear me to HER wishes of continually attending ad-infinitum many New Age Workshops run by this Eastern suburbs Guru tosser that while being rather vague about just WHAT was her central philosophy, knew for certain the value of modern currency!

But anyway, I kept the house…or rather, the bank let me stay in the house for the duration as long as I kept up repayments…I was having trouble studying at the university AND keeping up with the mortgage…There was only one thing to do…choose between Classical Studies and the mortgage…I put the house on the market.

This involved the necessity of preparing the property for the inevitable open inspections..now, I am not an expert on the subject of property desirability, but I do know that a vase of pretty flowers always makes the most drear room look so much brighter..and since it is an old adage that ; “A house without a woman is like a lantern without light”..flowers it would be.

I told you that the family car went with the missus, so I was reduced to Shank’s Pony for the short trips to the shops and the bus for the trip to the University..now it happened that right next door to that bus stop was a house that had in its front yard the most brilliant display of sweet peas I had ever seen..so bright!..so brilliant!…and totally overflowing the trellises and beds it was displayed in…I had to have some! I had seen the incumbent of that house pull into her driveway several times as I waited for the bus..and we did exchange smiles at different times..ok..I’m not a sorry looking character, I have kept my shape and condition from those many years as a carpenter in the building trade..and the lady in question was quite a looker herself..; rich, full, dark hair past her shoulder, full woman’s body, Italian, I thought..around fortyish..soft breasted with those Italian hips that would fill out with ageing…but for now SO rounded and full…a delight!…I had never seen a male attached to either the woman or the property.

So it was with some anticipated pleasure that I knocked on the front door to ask if I could please have some of her gorgeous sweet-peas to grace the front rooms of my house.

I was not disappointed.

Maria-Rosa ( for that was her name I was to learn) opened the door a little and instantly “looked me up and down”..having satisfied herself that I was relatively harmless and recognising me from my standing at the bus-stop, she smiled and with a sensuous wry tone said..

“Hello..fancy seeing you here…let me guess..you’ve missed your bus and you are asking for a lift to town?”…and she broadened her smile with the tip of her tongue protruding cheekily between her teeth. I gave a bit of a giggle at the instant humour.

“A lift to the university would be good, but no..not now…I have come to ask if I can have a bouquet of those lovely sweet-peas you grow in your front yard to put into my front room..”

“Entertaining, are we?” Maria-Rosa inquired.

“No…selling up.” I gave my truncated reason.

“Oh…” Maria-Rosa’s face dropped a little..”..that’s a shame, I was beginning to set my clocks to your standing there at the bus stop”….The lady had a sense of humour that I found much to my liking..but I was here “on business”…

And those multi-hued flowers did wonders to brighten the place.for Maria-Rosa was more than generous and clipped off enough stems with her secateurs and gloved hands to let me place a vase full in both the lounge and the kitchen..not only once, but several times over the period of ‘open display’ times…

My house was on the edge of a park and a path wound past my front fence across the expanse of parkland..I was not far from Maria-Rosa’s house and sometimes she would make her way across the park to the delicatessen over the other side..One day as I was turning over the soil under the hollyhocks, Maria-Rosa leant on the fence…

“I thought you didn’t have any flowers?…these look nice”. And she stroked the hollyhock stem.

“Yes..they are nice, but better here in the garden as a show than inside..Your sweet-peas are so bright and delightful..thank you very much.”

“Well, perhaps you can thank me by inviting me in for an afternoon coffee?” Maria-Rosa smiled..and of course, it seemed like a good idea to myself also..We had sat at the kitchen table with our instant coffees and Maria-Rosa had a good squizz around at my kitchen, which I thought was neat and tidy..ready for inspection.

“Your kitchen smells funny”. She commented, with her nose wrinkled.

“Oh..” I was surprised and sniffed the air several times.

“I don’t mean it stinks” she explained “I mean it smells stale and…uncooked in”..

“Yes, well..I have been avoiding cooking here as I don’t want to dirty the place up before the inspection”.

“How many inspections do you have?”

“Once a week.” I replied.

“So what have you been eating?” Maria-Rosa inquired..I had to drop my eyes a tad shamefacedly at her question and hesitatingly replied..

“Maccas..among other things”…….Well…the look she gave me!..she then trulled her fingers on the table-top and looked at me disgustingly..

“Why cannot you men look after yourselves?…” she leant toward me “Look, I’ll do you a favour just this once and invite you over to my place for dinner tonight…the kids will be with their father for the weekend and I will cook you up a good pasta meal..you’re looking thin and underfed…” She stood to leave..”bring some wine..” she commanded, then raised her eyebrows in mocking inquiry and asked ; ”Shall I wash my cup for you too?”…and she smiled that beautiful smile she has and touched the side of my face affectionately with her hand..”Addio until this evening…six o’clock sharp!..and hey..”and she waved her finger “no funny business.”

At precisely the appointed time, I knocked on Maria-Rosa’s front door…there was a pause of several seconds, then a shout from inside.

“  ‘Round the back!”…

Upon that exacting instruction, I looked for the gate to the back yard and made for it unhesitatingly. Upon entering Maria-Rosa’s back yard, I was instantly overwhelmed by the sight of a profusion of home-grown vegetables..all that could be named of the season of local fruit and veggie shop produce was growing in that back yard..

There were thick, dark fronds of cavollo nero, still heavily laden broad bean plants looking toward the end of their season leaning over rows of lettuce interspersed with herbs of basil, coriander and several other unrecognisable condiments..New, half grown tomato plants hovered under halos of bamboo bracing stands ready to stake-tie the growing stems..Be-headed artichokes towered next to a side fence of wooden palings, a well mulched bed of asparagus stems pushing their inquisitive phallus skyward carefully kept separate from other plantings over the eastern side of a garden path, while fresh plantings of what must be the Summer vegetables filled the remaining area of a carefully tended garden…I was impressed..and I instantly recalled and recoiled from a disparaging comment made by an Australian teen I knew back many years ago who wrinkled her nose at the suggestion of growing one’s own vegetables..

“Oh no!…only wogs grow their own vegetables!”

“Hello!..” I called toward the house..Maria-Rosa’s head poked out through some sliding doors.

“C’mon in.” she gesticulated with her head “I’m here in the kitchen..”

I entered through those sliding doors into a world of wild, sensuous aromas, heavy with voluminous smells of heated olive oil, garlic, onions and tomato sauces…a steaming stainless steel pot of water stood slowly on the boil awaiting it’s burden of apparent pasta that I could see lying nearby on a cutting board.

But this wasn’t your ordinary spaghetti pasta that you can buy for a couple of dollars down the supermarket…these were obviously the home-made job…thick as and with what looked like a hollow centre…

I put the bottle of chianti (I had presumed on her nationality in a rather gauche way, I admit) on the side bench of the kitchen and went to gaze at the pasta there. Maria-Rosa picked up the Chianti bottle, turned it around and touched the reedy-husks type wrapping on the body of the bottle..she didn’t exactly wince at the pastiche of the product, but I could sense the scorn!…

“This is too good for now, let’s save it for another occasion…” and she placed it on a high shelf..”here, I have a bottle already opened…it is home-made by this Italian friend I know…he has really perfected his style…” and she poured some dark, rich wine into an ordinary drinking glass with fluted sides..” Salute!” she cried and we chinked glasses…I could see that Maria-Rosa was a no-nonsense woman…and as a recently semi-retired carpenter tradesman, I was very impressed with her “workmanlike” manner..

“What sort of pasta is that?” I asked.

“ It is Calabrian fusilli ai ferri..Maria-Rosa replied..what we in Australia would call “knitting- needle fusilli” it isn’t the same as those short corkscrews of dried pasta that most manufacturers produce. These are spaghetti noodles with a hole in the middle, created by rolling and stretching the dough around a very thin dowel…or perhaps a knitting needle..I use the long piece of a metal clothes hanger that a friend cut for me”.

“And you make it yourself?” I stupidly remarked..Maria-Rosa paused in her action of placing an onion into a small muslin bag and frowned at me…

“Of course I do…I have to..no-one else is going to do it for me.” And she relented her frown and turned it instantly into a broad smile to me..”Tonight I am making it for you”.

“Oh..I wouldn’t expect you to go to that much trouble for me.” I protested.

“But I am not doing it JUST for you…I am doing it for US both!”…that smile again..”If I am going to cook, I am going to enjoy WHAT I am cooking…eh?” and she pointed to a chair at the end of the kitchen table she was working on and upon my seating pushed a shallow plate of antipasti toward me..” Here nibble on these while I prepare the dinner.”

My word!…upon that large, shallow dish were several delicious looking helpings of home prepared hors d’oeuvres…there were artichoke hearts in olive oil, small bocconcini balls, some flans of chargrilled capsicum also in olive oil, broadbeans uncooked but prepared heavens knows how but tasting so wonderful!..there were olives, both green and black..small cuts of proscuito, rolled around small asparagus pieces and several other un-nameable treats that just washed my mouth with saucy flavour and thrilled the senses with promise of delight..there were slices of ciabatta bread to soak up the flavours of the olive oil and I was left wondering if this is the appertiser, what foundation of paradise would the main course be!

“don’t fill up on the hors d’oeuvres” Maria cautioned..content that I was gorging on her creations “leave a little space for the pasta”.

“But this is so beautiful!” I exclaimed..

“No…you must not say “beautiful”..in Italian, we do not use that word to describe food..that word is used to describe a beautiful object or person…like a woman…for food we use the word ; “buono”..: “good”…for food is good..good food is good for you..it is just that ..good.”

“Well then THIS food is very “buono”!”and I smiled to Maria…we smiled to each other. Maria-Rosa leant close to me and plucked an olive from the dish and slid…yes..that is the best description of her action..she slid that olive between her soft, red lips and while looking into my eyes closely, slowly masticated the olive then let the pip drop from between her lips onto a side dish…I did note that gesture most carefully.. after all, I convinced myself..I’m not a slouch.

“But tell me why you put in such work just to give a meal to a neighbour as myself?” I was indeed intrigued at the obvious spread of preparation in front of me, for while I appreciated the effort, I was quite amazed that Maria would make such an effort just for me.

I sat there in my chair for an extended silence from both of us after I had asked that question…Maria-Rosa’s face displayed little emotion and she kept at the preparation of the meal..she did turn to me after a short time and just looked to me and gave me one of those elusive smiles that women are so good at…what did it mean?…that sort of smile..

Maria-Rosa then took a medium sized red onion and placed it into a small muslin bag with a tie-string and placing it on a stout chopping board, took up a wooden meat-tenderiser mallet, smashed down on the onion in the bag several times with some force…She then opened the bag, extracted what looked like the skin and husk of the onion and tippled out the now shredded pieces of that onion…she had “cut” the onion without using a knife!…I had to admit I was amazed…I had never seen such a thing before.

“Why didn’t you just use a knife?” I asked…

Maria-Rosa again gave me that elusive lift of her lips…then she leaned upon her hands upon the table and explained the whole business of the meal and her and me.

“Do you know that in Italy..in Calabria where my grandmother came from..pasta is called the meal of love..because everybody loves pasta…everybody..but it has another connection where my people come from..My Nonna told us about the men of the village there on the coast whose working life was as fishermen…They would leave their homes and go to sea on the trawlers for months at a time…it depended on the catch as to how long they would be gone…plenty of fish meant a short season…less fish, longer out at sea…there was no point returning with an empty hold..the village depended upon those fishermen for both food and pay.”

Maria-Rosa then became busy with her hands breaking up and stripping the vegetables with her fingers while she spoke..never once did she pick up a knife to cut the food..even with the soppressa salami, and the cheese, she broke a large piece off and crumbled it in her fingers..all the sauce preparation and condiments were measured and done with only her fingers..

“Turns were taken by the old people to watch from the cliffs to see if the boats were returning..and when the cry went up that the boats were seen coming over the seas, great preparation was made by the women to welcome their husbands and sons home..and the food that was most prepared was pasta…and my Nonna always cooked the one meal to welcome my grandfather home..for as my Nonna said of those times and I suspect it is still relevant for these times..perhaps even now to yourself..When men are away from the home and their families for such a long time, living in cramped and wild conditions..catching, killing, gutting their kills, blood and guts and waste all around..not that clean or conducive to love and affection..living among only men..they go back to a wild state and become detatched from the needs and comforts of home life..they become brutal..so my Nonna..and the other women in the village welcome their men back into the life of home and family.

And it was this meal of fusilli ai ferri..that re-introduced her husband to the joys and comforts of home..and she cooked it with the touch of love…that is, she would not use a steel blade to cut the ingredients, as the taste and smell of steel was so familiar to those fishermen with all the fish they would cut and clean, they were sick of even the sight of it…and she showed me one day with a piece of chicken..she tore off a piece with her fingers and fed it to the cat, who gulped it down..she then cut a piece off with a knife and offered it to the same cat…and the cat smelt it and refused it as she could smell the steel..so to prepare the food with just your fingers, was to do it as an act of love..So also tonight, I prepare this meal for us with my fingers as I am making it for the love of good company..for is it not good and proper that a woman should enjoy the company of a man as much as the man for a woman?”…and Maria-Rosa smiled again that beguiling smile.. Maria-Rosa had already prepared the ingredients for the sauce and was adding such to a concoction of scented delight would make an alchemist writhe in ecstasy!

“You see so many food dishes served up that look very photographic and tasty, but in so many of those well-presented meals there is the one important ingredient missing that makes all the flavours an eating delight..and that is love..one cooks for those one loves with love..”

I suddenly realised Maria-Rosa’s objective for inviting me to share this meal with her..this sultry woman, this gourmand of gorgeous sensuality was using the food, the preparation of , cooking, taste, smell and feeding to me as a vehicle of seduction….this Italian beauty was seducing ME with the taste and language of cooking..between the rich odours of the food, the appertisers, the sights, colours and the second helping of that rich, fruity wine, I couldn’t think of a better way to be seduced..”Press on!” I subconsciously concurred..and it was in this soporific state that I first noticed the music in the background…a soft but rhythmic beat along with a kind of soft wailing chant by some women..

“What is that music?” I asked Maria-Rosa.

“The Tarantella…a cultural thing of the region..the music accompanies the dance of the Tarantella..” and while Maria-Rosa tended a shallow pan of hot oil, she explained to me “The Tarantella is an excuse for women of the village to display their young bodies to potential men of the village…their suitors…the theory is that having been bitten by a Tarantula spider, the only way to rid oneself of the poison, was to dance in a voluptuous frenzy till in a state of delirium to drive out the evil poison..”..Maria tippled the onion into the pan and stirred the sizzling pieces…”Of course, in the process of dancing, the young lady would contort her body to show all her best curves and attractions to the man, particularly to her chosen man, watching…perhaps to even make him jealous of the other men seeing her body and so drive him to a frenzy of want of her…which, of course, he couldn’t have unless he wed the lass”…Maria-Rosa then threw in some more ingredients into the pan…I could see small pieces of the sopressa and the pancetta and along with these she tippled in a measure of whisky..she let these cook for a while to, as she explained, let the alcohol evaporate..when the meats were crisp, she added some peeled tomatoes and a rich paste-like tomato sauce she had preserved from the last season’s crop..Just watching the dexterous actions she was using to control the level and sight of those cooking ingredients was mesmerising…add to this the warmth of the wine and the soft-heavy drumming of the music of the Tarantella, I could feel myself being lured into a sensation of embracing delight.

To the simmering pot of boiling water, Maria-Rosa added the pasta..and from that deed, instantly switched back to the sauce and added some fresh porcini mushrooms that she had soaking in water..she stirred this sauce and waited for the pasta to cook..

I took this moment to examine this womanly delight here with me..and I couldn’t help but compare those dancers of the Tarantella to the svelte Italian body of Maria-Rosa..for I could now see she had prepared herself just as diligently as she had the ingredients for this meal..her tights sculptured her legs a curvaceous delight from the delicate, leather sandals that graced her slender feet to the firm, muscular thighs that disappeared under a light cotton shirt with a tail that modestly covered a full bottom and sweeping hips just made to be held in tight embrace…the shirt was buttoned just high enough to let the décolletage reveal the full, soft volume of her breasts and cleavage did draw my eye to that most inviting of a woman’s treasures..her long hair falling around and sometimes into that deep attraction between her bosoms…and I have to admit it was a difficult job to drag my gaze away when it seemed Maria-Rosa was doing her level best to display those choice mammaries to me.

Several times during this period of concentration on the cooking of the meal, we would top up our glasses of the rich wine and smile affectionately to each other..I could see where the evening was heading.

After the pasta was cooked “al dente” Maria-Rosa drained it and added it to the sauce..she mixed it in well and added basil and diced provolone…she let the dish rest to melt the provolone..then divided it so I had the greater measure…which she delighted in letting me see the favour to myself..and to the separate dishes, she then added the grated pecorino with a sprig of basil and placed that sumptuous feast in front of me…the scents that wafted from the meal into my nostrils was both sensational and sensual..

Maria-Rosa marked well my reaction and then whispered in a most instructive manner..


I confess to filling myself with that meal and then accompanied the taste with another glass of that wonderful fruity wine..I was totally consumed by the entire process of what had passed since first arriving at the kitchen of Maria-Rosa..and whatever her intent for this evening, I was fully prepared to satisfy her every demand and that demand was soon to transpire, for once the meal had been fully consumed, the residue sauce scooped up with spoon and finger from my plate and I fell back into my chair with that glass of vino in a most, well almost satiated appetite, I could see Maria-Rosa smile again that ever beguiling smile to me so that it lingered so sensuously on her lips for such a long moment that I could be certain she had a finale up her sleeve

And then it came just as the street lights turned on and one could become aware that the noises of the suburb had ebbed and mellowed so that a kind of peace descended over the penumbra of light.

Maria-Rosa looked to me with the hunger of a loving woman in her eyes, tossed down the last of the wine in her glass, placed it upon the table and leaned over to me to kiss me on the lips and to whisper into my ear..

“And now, caro mio..to bed…” 

The Arrogance of Power.

Image result for Siege of Glenrowan Inn pics.

A Play..

This is a condensed part of a play that is centred around a well-worked story ; that of  “The Kelly Gang”..But the difference is displayed in the title..I hope to have delved a little at least into what I call ; “An Arrogance of Power”…It is political and social power sometimes held by a charismatic  individual like Kelly , or an Authority of governance…or subordinate officials who aspire to have it.

In Ned Kelly’s case, He possessed it as a natural strength , the Colonial Authorities jealously guarded it as their perceived right , and other minor officials desired it as a personal treasure. In the story of the Kelly uprising, this “arrogance” was played out by several people.

I want to try with this portrayal of Ned Kelly, to elevate the man from what may be called in some quarters ; A “criminal” mythology, to where I think he more rightly deserves to be placed in our Nation’s short but colourful Colonial history..:

That of Heroic Mythology.

Act# 4 Scene :2

….A jail cell Kelly sits on wooden bench…hands clasped, head down, he is musing on his fate a cock crows, Kelly starts!

Kelly- “Hark, the dawn, sweet Christ! dawn.(he places his head in his hands, then raises it to gaze straight toward audience).Dear Lord, give my distress reason, this last moment before sunrise….this last moment of my life on this earth. What dire fate carried me to this end? Where my brothers now…my friends?..Must I face this darkness alone amongst my enemies?..Ah, damn. damn, damn! What humour of the gods threw me to such beasts…is it for the meanest pun that I am cast so? a murderer they call me, yet they have killed more than I.  A thief they call me and still they rob the poor and ignorant ( He stands and paces the cell) Yet, there are many who see such injustices done.. but why was it to me that fell the responsibility to try to correct such injustices?….I who wanted no more than a farm, and a quiet life. What trick of circumstance brought me to these gallows?…No!.. settle your mind, Ned…hark now while there is still time.. go steadily over the facts, for there.is the secret of the rebellion”.

( He sits down, hands apart in front and reflects)

[  Here the stage is divided into two, Ned in his cell on the right,(from the audience’s viewpoint) the Governor, Judge Redmond Barry, superintendent Hare sitting in comfortable chairs, on the left. They are surrounded by all the trappings of their class, they pour themselves glasses of wine from time to time whilst they talk. Their conversation is calm, well constructed and carefully considered. Kelly’s soliloquy is questioning, his answers full of self-doubt till the end where he finally gains the upper- hand., then he becomes calm, self-assured, certain of his conclusion, whilst the others shift about in their chairs, squirming as they become evasive. doubtful….

As each question is put up by Kelly, his side of the stage darkens, the other lights up and his question is answered by one of the three as if they were talking to him and vice-versa.]

Judge Redmond Barry holds out his glass, superintendent Hare starts, quickly servile but clumsily reaches out and fills the glass from a carafe on the table..as he fills, they hear a cock crow..they all turn to a window on the set wall.

Governor: “Dawn..it won’t be long now!”

Sir Red. Barry: “If it were done, best it were done quickly”.

Gov; “No passing regrets, Redmond?”

Sir R.: ‘With each mans’ death I too am diminished.. ha ha! But no, not this time…for Kelly’s crimes shaped his own end eh, Hare’?”

Hare: “Certainly, we had all the evidence..(snorts humourously) if such were needed, for he convicted himself by his intent…and that was clear enough”.

Gov’: “What then the talk of his mother?”

[stage darkens, return to Kelly.]

Kelly:”When the troopers harrassed and arrested my mother,…. did I act too hastily and with too much temper’?”

Sup. Hare.:”Well, to be accurate, the evidence against his mother was a little…thin on the ground (a soft guffaw from the others) to warrant her arrest…but!..we had to create a catalyst to follow through with the suppression of the district radicals.”

Gov’.:” Hear! hear!”( the judge snorts approval)

Kelly:” Did I act in too much haste to avenge the treatment given to my family , and friends?..perhaps I was bold beyond reason?”

Sup’. H.:” Likewise his father and assorted relatives and friends…, we had to make an example of the clan lest their outspoken behaviour be seen as a quality of leadership and so spark rebellion amongst the larger Irish community there in the district. Amongst such clannish people we had little evidence,…but we had power and arms enough to divide and accuse regardless of guilt…it is our right to rule…and the prisons , ours to fill!”

Judge Barry:: “ Tis a pity Kennedy, and his patrol didn’t rid us of the problem early in the piece.”

Gov’..”Being their own kind..you’d have thought they would have been more cunning….set a thief to catch a thief..”

Sup’. H.:” Ah!..they were ambushed…’twas bad luck for them…armed to the teeth they were too….’twas bad luck for us. that!”

(Lights up his pipe).

Kelly.:”Kennedy and his lot…that was an evil day!..for Kennedy was a brave man, the wrath of God be upon me for his death. I’m sure. But then…what were they to expect? Irishmen hunting Irishmen, they could expect nothing but trouble! Those canny bastards always set us against ourselves…divide and rule is the order of the day. “

Sup’ H.:( he draws on his pipe, expels a long breath)” ‘Twas very important to have their own countrymen hunting them, sets the train of doubt and mistrust amongst their community..They have a long memory: the Irish. And a long memory gives rise to a shorter temper!.

(all three laugh).

Gov’.:” He’ll be but a memory in a few short moments!…ha! ha!”

(the gov’ throws his head back to laugh at his own joke…the other two look at eachother and roll their eyes)

Judge Barry.:(taps the tips of his finders together)” Though in the eyes of the Crown…we have achieved the desired effect of suppressing a sedition and or a potential uprising of the rebellious contingent in the community.. there is a mild..mild I reiterate, moral question that begs discussion. eye-eee (ie.) the deliberate setting-up of these people and incidents and subsequent loss of life to achieve the objective…vis-a-vis : the rooting out and extinguishing of seditious elements within the community”

Gov’.:” Deliberate setting- up?”(Gov looks to Sup.Hare).

Sup’.H.:(clears throat)”Well, Sir…er, to be honest….(clears throat again).

Gov’:” Out with it man!”

Kelly; (pacing the cell, stops, turns head to side,ponders) All the circumstances, all the petty infringements of law, the paltry nit-picking and harassment of our clan….(paces floor as he reasons) the Irish agin’ Irish, relative against relative it seems as if there was a more deliberate force at work than mere chance, it seems as if everything fell too, too smoothly into place, as if all the trivial accusations were deliberately set up to “strike at” our family but…no!,no!..surely it couldn’t be so ….. ?

Sup’. H.:” I did have a report from Superintendant Nicholson that, among other people, most strongly recommended the (gazes quickly to Judge Barry) “rooting out” of the Kelly family from the district and to (if I may quote)”send them to Pentridge even on a paltry charge” to take them away from the community and to reduce their influence in the area so, yes Sir, in some ways it was a deliberate “set-up” as Judge Barry mentioned, though I must admit that it did not go always as planned and I think it was our good fortune that there was not a general uprising at the siege of the Glenrowan Inn!..and if they had succeeded in the derailment of the troop train…?(he finishes with a nervous swig of wine)…thank heaven for the schoolmaster”..

Gov’.:”Ah, yes…the spoiler..”

Sup’ H ;”Spoiler, Sir?”

Judge B; “We have our own “spoilers”, Hare…every Jesus has his Judas…” He gulps his wine.

Gov’;” Quite so, quite so….That close, eh?…(Sup Hare nods in silence)Hmm, is this report common knowledge?”

Sup’.H.:” Only to the higher echelons of the department, Sir”.

Gov’.:(stands and begins to pace the floor with hands clasped behind back)”Then keep it such and Nicholson?…good man that, sees deeply into a problem….(pauses, reflects on his statement)..reward him with a promotion(suddenly raises finger) no, wait!..not promotion, money! give him a supplement to his pay..heh!heh!..money is the most subtle gag!…besides, we don’t want a too competent man near the “top” (stops pacing, looks to the others meaningfully)do we?”  (no word from the other two, so he smiles). You know I have received a petition of plea for clemency for Kelly….thirty thousand signatures…(he looks from one to the other, reading their reactions).Yes..(he sighs and sits back down)that is an awful lot of support in the community… of course there is no chance of it happening, as if the Crown can relinquish so firm a grasp on law and order! No, he shall hang as ordained in the courts of justice.” (Gov raises his glass toward Judge Barry).

Kelly.:” But if it was such, if there was a deliberate conspiracy to victimise our family and friends, ….let me think..(counts out on fingers) Me. Mother, Dan, Jim, Joe Byrne, Aaron Sherrit, Jack Lloyd, Bill Skillion, James Quinn. Pat Quinn (stops counting and looks toward audience in a state of shock) all sentenced, all served time…there can be little doubt but that we were hounded into the courts for some covert reason . Damn their eyes that they have played us into an insidious trap! That the authorised government would sink to such depths to isolate and oppress a group of people as an example to the general mass. What twisted frame of mind would seek such notorious security? That it would selectively sacrifice individuals for its own greater comfort. No, it was not I who was the criminal in this escapade. Let the filth of their cunning permeate into the furtherest reaches of their administration, for they will reap just reward for the evil they sow this day (clenches fist in anger).

Judge B.:(swills wine in glass whilst gazing down reflectively)”I fear we have set a precedent with this action that can lead us down a treacherous path,”

Gov.:”How so. Redmond?”

Judge B,:” ‘Tis a fateful pity we picked on such courageous an individual as Edward Kelly, on the surface he would appear “easy-meat” ; poor, uneducated country-bumkin! But there is a natural leader under that impoverished hide that may yet become a beacon to others.”

Gov.:” Come, come,Redmond. You colour us as tyrants and that..that(waves fingers) dirt as a new Brian Boru !”

Judge B.:”You heard him in my courtroom?…You read his “Jerilderie Letter”?

Gov.:” Ravings! my dear man, ravings!”

Judge B.:”To us, yes, for we deem them as such….We dismiss the crude rhetoric as a maniacs rave….but I tell you there was a power in both those “ravings”, a power that came from a deep belief in the injustice of his jailing…of his family’s convictions….of the oppression of his peoples..MY peoples still!..Such a power has its own silent brooding strength within!….we are indeed fortunate if there is not an uprising after dawn today!”

(a silence prevails)

Gov.:(stands and thinks)” Then we must “colour” the man’s last moments.”

Sup’ Hare;.:”How so Your Excellency?”

Gov.:”Why, we shall apply that time-honoured system when dealing with the “honest ” opposition we shall LIE!..lie and dishonour their memory! (pounds fist into palm of other hand)Let the sentence follow its rubric script, only we, (pauses, wags finger) shall darken the language to the pitch of blood! What is left untarnished… let them adore! But I beg you, fellow corpsmen, let it be little or best still…nothing of respectable substance! We hang Kelly as a murderer; let us paint him as more than such! You; Hare, make sure you report his “cowardice” at the hanging, use any language at your command to make an unfavourable impression with our friends of the Press of his last moments….we must start now to nip any sympathy in the bud and we shall use all means available to do it!….”

Kelly ; “And still it was I who took up the challenge to right their criminal intent but Why?…why was it left to me?….many a time gladly would I have given over the reins to another…(softly).Christ too begged release, yet there was none to take it. Likewise my own position….Joe Byrne?…too cavalier….Dan? too young, likewise Steve Hart but of the rest?….like the disciples of Christ: no vision, it would have all frittered away till there was only the cruel oppression left and us rotting in Pentridge goal….No, there was no other to take the initiative….only I (slumps down on bunk, arms limp on lap…slowly looks up to audience, stands, points to audience accusingly) ..and you! you stand by and let me and the likes of us carry the burden of responsibility and pay the price!….what is your part in this history?..(stands transfixed, mouth slightly open, pointing finger lowers slowly softly speaks)..But what am I saying…they are invisible: the silent majority, they do not figure in history, till the suffering attains a greater magnitude, then and only then does the collective whinge become a moan of anguish!..aaaahhh ! (flings arm wide).bugger the lot of them!…it is too late to lament my lot now , I am condemmed to die dishonourably to give cold honour to a cowardly population….well, I’ll give them one thing to think about: at least I’ll die game!…(shouts)I AM NED KELLY…SON OF RED KELLY!…”

Gov.:” I t is nearly time now, superintendant, go and witness Kelly’s “cowardice” and give it favourable report in the daily press”. ( sup’ Hare stands to attn, salutes and departs.)”Good man that (nods after Hare), I must recommend a suitable reward for his services” .

Judge B: “More money, Your Excellency? (Gov is about to sit, stops mid action and gazes questioningly at the judge)….since I’m sure we don’t want too competent a man near the top ” (sips wine innocently)

Gov.: (sits down slowly but comfortably)”I’m sure I can manage my …subordinates….Redmond..yes, more money, never fails (sips wine, sighs) I’ll have to order in another crate of this most enjoyable red, it sits most delightfully on my digestion!”

Judge B.: “It disturbs mine.”

Gov.:” That is because you gulp it down too fast my dear Redmond…I’ve watched you. no! ..don’t deny it, but listen, good wine is money to the blood..as the coins feel reassuring when they jingle in your pocket and you “embrace” them with your fingers before you spend them….So it is with wine, you let it lay a little on the tongue then press it gently against the palate to feel the richness of it’s fruit before you consume..BEFORE you consume, my dear Redmond….then it will not sour your gut!…(looks to the judge and laughs)ha! ha! ha!”

Kelly.:(returns to bench and sits, hands on knees) “Ah well, they destroy me….but I will take some of them with me…for I will be the nemesis of their hatred!…they have “roped ” themselves to me. Now, as I die…so must they..mine is not the only neck that will be gracing the rope !”(places head in hands and sobs gently he then stops, looks up) Mother… please give me strength to die like a Kelly.”

Judge B.:(taps fingertips together as he speaks) “Of course all this damn drama has risen out of the selectors’ poverty. There is such a thing as too much poverty, Gov’, I see it before my bench continually…”

Gov.:”….and where there is poverty there is crime…”

Judge B.: “And where there is wealth, I contritely add : Is there not greater crime ?”

Gov.: “Ahh! but that “crime” is affiliated, my dear Redmond , affiliated ”

Judge B.: “And we, I take it, are all shareholders?”

Gov.:(stands up abruptly, looks to the judge) “Yes, by God!, that or poverty!…I leave you choose the more favourable….(lowers voice)but come , Redmond, I didn’t make the rules, I am only a caretaker and I too must answer to a greater power….well aware am I that the substance of the poor always goes to enrich the wealthy (hunches shoulders appealingly)but what would you?…Those of us who pull the levers of Authority know only too well the tenuous hold we have on that power..and we know only too well that we rule not on our own strength..for what really are you Redmond , or I, if challenged to arms…but through the obedient strength of those we command..those we own…and if they but knew what we know…So, dear Redmond..Let us be thankful we are only hanging one man, not a whole class!”

Judge B.:”(drains glass with a wince)Pray we are not , in the long run, hanging ourselves!”

( stands to leave.) stage darkens.

Exit scene.

The complete play can be read here..: https://freefall852.wordpress.com/2016/04/13/an-arrogance-of-power/

O’ that we crossed that bridge of dreams.

“Man is forbidden to concern himself with anything but the struggle for bread. If his capacity for dreaming, imagining, inventing and experimenting is killed in the process, man will become a well-fed robot and die of spiritual malnutrition. The dream has its function and man cannot live without it.” …Anais Nin..: “Journals ; Vol’ 3.

Once upon a time humanity in the West moved about from mountain forest to open plain, from village to city armed with a plethora of myths and superstitions that were the backbone of the individual cultures and even individual tribes within those cultures and even right down to local villages with their “haunted” locations or sacred places with local copse or deep pools of water. We carried our favoured talismans to ward off evil or to invite kind spirits whilst on our travels.

The world of the Pagan…(Paganus ; Latin : of the village/countryside) was a world of complex mix of spiritual beliefs and mythology…the heroes of such myths moving among the Gods as representatives of the human desires…and the blending of both God and humanity became a favourable norm’ of explanation for some difficult to explain situations…Many an Emperor of the west proclaimed his father was one of the greater Gods who blessed his mother with divine conception and birth to explain away a more base truth that it was perhaps a wild night in the cot with a favourite slave that did the “hard, dirty work”.

The mythological worlds of those Pagans, from the Northern Lights to the Mediterranean Sea was “peopled” with all the colour and actions of a dreamtime equal to any ever described in the history of any tribal nation on the planet…Crazy heroes of both sexes, wild and strange animals, and beasts, wicked and malicious Gods, vengeful and jealous, that created stories and tales of wild abandon and filled the night air like the sparks rising from roaring camp-fire with any amount of delight and fear as story after story unfolded around rustic camp or ampitheatre stage…and the world as we know it was created and filled by the actions of those wonderous ephemeral beings.

And a “teller of tales” was a qualification as equal to if not surpassing the high priest of the temple….It was a time for dreaming…It was a time of wonder..

And then came the nightmare…..; Orthodox religion.

 “ By the sweat of your brow
    you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
    since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
    and to dust you will return.”  .. Genesis 3:19

The pragmatic brutality of the demands of adherence to the orthodox religious dogma of the three Abrahamic religions, set about with measured and structured determination to destroy the Pagan world of humanity and replace it with the more manageable rules of a singular God..a monotheist religiosity that fell in line , length and step to what was required by the rulers of the nation state for unity under rule of law..THEIR LAW..for all its citizens.

The Emperor Constantine designated that one God, one faith, one religion will only be tolerated under the Roman state. So from that date forward, with the exceptions of a couple of apostate Emperors, that monotheism became the norm and mankind stopped the en-masse worshipping of their favourite Pagan deities and household Gods and fell in line to the golden doors of the church..

Humanity stopped dreaming.

“Things now became rather hectic for me.  I forgot all about my Tales and became much more conscientious.  How could I have let all those years slip by, instead of practicing my devotions and going on pilgrimages?  I began to doubt whether any of my romantic fancies, even those that had seemed most plausible, had the slightest basis in fact.  How could anyone as wonderful as Shining Genji or as beautiful as the girl whom Captain Kaoru kept hidden in Uji really exist in this world of ours?  Oh, what a fool I had been to believe such nonsense!

“The wistful tone is present from the beginning, but as the writer nears the end of her life, it becomes unmistakable.  By the time we approach the final pages, there’s  a palpable sense of ‘if only’…” ( As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams – Recollections of a Woman in Eleventh-Century Japan )

With the ending of the mind’s dreaming of mythology and the age of heroes, became the beginning of the enslavement of the body to time and motion of the capital-based society. I lay at the feet of those orthodox religions the blame for so much of the brutal waste of humanity’s potential for cross-cultural respect. I lay at the feet of those “governors” of the West the reason for so much warfare and destruction as they utilised their creation of the “one faith..one God…one belief” to further enrich a so small minority of inner-circle acolytes and pseudo-devotees of their own false God.

Blasphemers of the true spirit of humanity.

Heretics of the desired destiny of humankind.

Sacrilegious destroyers of the dreamtime of the human race….Indeed, if there is a place in the hell of our recorded histories, those “high priest” traitors will deserve to occupy the most disgusting and effluvious depths of that hell. What has been created to replace those eons of “slow-life” can be described as a rapine of the most wanton destruction upon both nature and humanity..a curse of the worse description more wicked and wasteful than the most cruel witch or warlock, the most vengeful God or Goddess and more lasting than ever the Fates would condemn.

“ As I have said before, my mind was absorbed in romances, and I had no well-placed relatives from whom I could learn distinguished manners or court customs. Apart from the romances I could not know them.I had always been in the shadow of my antiquated parents, and had been accustomed not to go out except to see the moon and flowers. So when I left home I felt as if I were not I nor was it the real world to which I was going.I started in the early morning. I had often fancied in my countrified mind that I should hear more interesting things for my heart’s consolation than were to be found living fixed in my parents house” (Sarashina Nikki..: “As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams”)

And in the end, all she “found” was routine and authoritarian expectation of duty.

I have a relative who is keenly looking forward this year to a hip replacement…he needs it because he has carried so much weight over so many years that his natural one has worn down with the effort..of course, he will say otherwise..but that is the awful truth..and likewise are many of us “blessed” with such medical interventions that prolong an aged existence. We really have little choice..there is the suffering..here is the solution..what madness to refuse?

But I don’t think I need to extrapolate on the “long, winding road” that led us to this place. If we can’t identify it distinctly, we have good intuition of the what’s, why’s and wherefore’s that brought us here. The over indulgence of that relative of mine to the gluttony of a whole epoch of humanity has brought us here, where there is no longer a time for dreaming…of imagining…of procrastination while we relax on the laurals of our hard work..For it has already been costed and if there is not an algorithm already that calculates down to the last cent every individual citizen’s capacity of a lifetime’s contribution to the treasury coffers of the state and gives a rating on that citizen’s worth to the state..then there soon will be!

We have traded a dreamtime that promised no more than a frugal if colourful existence for a civilisation that promises us no more than a frugal if “colourful” existence…In the horse-racing game of betting, that is nothing better than a low-priced “odds-on” to win….but it will take an expensive gamble to profit from those odds.

As a person who deplores medical intervention at the worst of times, I have to wonder what we have gained with all this “civilising”…certainly no improvement on those seven deadly sins..perhaps a bit on convenience and technology, but nothing on happiness levels and contentment..let alone on wealth and well-being…a longer life perhaps..if you can dodge the traffic as you cross the road to do that bit of shopping.

Can’t blame the indigenous peoples of this or any nation for not really wanting a bar of it!

The Last Day of Jonothan Andrew Potter.

The Dying Gladiator.
A picture containing building, sculpture

Description automatically generated

The Dying Gladiator.

Jonothan clipped shut the lock on the double doors of his workshop…he then paused with one hand still clasping the large padlock..he was looking at that lock…but in truth, not really looking at it, but rather in deep contemplation..if asked of what, he could not say..it was just a momentary fixated stare at everything and nothing…he woke from the trance, shook his head and made his way to the parked Ford sedan and drove home to his flat on the ground floor of a three storey block of units in the suburb of South Brighton.

The usual habit of Jonothan when arriving home from work was to go to the fridge, extract a can of beer, sit in his big lounge chair strategically placed at comfortable distance from the television, and with remote in hand search through a familiar mental list of channels until he found something satisfactory to contemplate while he tossed down two cans of beer before a sketchy meal of supermarket purchased pre-cooked was heated up in the microwave oven.

This night was little different from a legion of others that fell one after the other in a repetition that would be considered a futile, boring existence except that it was a lifestyle totally fitted to one such as Jonothan Andrew Potter as his social life circulated out from his workshop where he met customers, salespeople and varied people who made their way to the big double doors of “Centerline Tooling” a one man show for precision manufactured tooling instrument repair and service.

Since the early morning, Jonothan had been feeling “off colour”…and it was with a heavy head that he fell into his chair that evening, his ill feeling sedated by several aspirin along with a third beer to settle the dull ache in his head..it was in this state and with a half consumed lasagne in its packaged container while he being serenaded by a streamed repeat episode of Midsomer Murders that Jonothan dozed off into a deep sleep….a sleep vividly coloured by strange dreams.

This sleep was to be Jonathan’s last sleep as he would pass away this evening.

If we look to the small coffee-table to the right of Jonothan’s hand, we will see two things that were instrumental in the ending of this night. The first of interest is a wad of final notices held in a bulldog clip…these final notices were from..in descending order of dates..the landlords of a) the leased workshop space informing him that if due rent was not paid by the end of that month, he would be void of the workshop and a padlock put on the big double doors..b) the landlord of his flat there on the ground floor where he now sits was arrears in rent and if such were not met in sixty days (dated one month previous) he would be evicted according to regulation…etc, etc…the other final notices were of lesser importance to having a roof over his head, but still would be disconcerting to his well-being, coming from the household energy provider, telephone and internet provider and gas supply…in short, Jonothan was snookered..

For several months there had been no work save the odd small cash job that didn’t really even cover food and petrol bills..the world of disposable technology had caught up to him. So when Jonothan came home from the workshop that evening, he took several cans of beer from the refrigerator, settled himself in front of the television and with a decided, set look on his face proceeded to settle the question of his situation.

Which brings us to the second thing of interest on that coffee-table, a white plastic tablet bottle labelled with a particular type of sleeping draught that he had persuaded his GP. That he badly needed as work was so busy, he needed to sleep solidly so as to be able to meet all his contracts…Regardless of the GP’s reticence, Jonothan had obtained those tablets in the white plastic container that now lay on its side devoid of contents…the last of the cans of beer sat half full next to the white, empty pill container…it would soon go flat.

But for the while as sleep took temporary command of Jonothan’s mind, he started to dream..

He dreamt he was sitting on a short column of sandstone somewhat at the edge of what appeared to be training arena for a young man riding a bay horse..the boy was quite young and being given instructions by an man dressed in a long toga, who gesticulated with each instruction of heel and toe necessity of where to touch the horse’s flank…Jonothan lifted his eyes to see on a plateau in the distance, above a white city bathed in brilliant sunshine, a temple that he could easily identify by its famous name..The Acropolis..except in this dream it was complete and shining brilliantly on the plateau above of what he was now certain was Athens..He showed not the least wonder as to why and what he was doing in this place..all was as it should be.

Jonothan stood as the young boy on the horse rode over toward him ever so slowly…they faced each other and the boy turned in the saddle, pointed to a small temple at the edge of the training arena that Jonothan hadn’t noticed before and said..

“You have to go there..” and that was all he said.

Jonothan was surprised at this instruction as he had never met either the boy, the man or had been to this place before but somehow it all seemed normal and natural that he should obey the boy’s instruction..as he got closer to the small temple..really not much larger than a wealthy family’s mausoleum..the man too pointed to the door of the temple and said..

”you’re late..they’re waiting inside”..

Jonothan opened the solid door of the temple and entered..and the room had changed already to a square with beige coloured flat, plain walls and ceiling but with four doors of normal size in the centre of each wall….the big entrance door had disappeared..and when Jonothan turned around, there were four people standing at each of the doors..yet he had not heard nor seen any of them enter..All four wore the long togas of ancient Grecian personages…all this seem so normal and not at all out of place. Jonothan looked to each in turn and then asked.

“Why are you here?” for he thought they all looked familiar..

“Because you’re here”….one answered..and Jonothan was surprised to see a young woman of around sixteen years old..then he recognised her as the young woman he admired way back when he was an apprentice and would catch the morning train to work and she would be there three stops before he would get off..and for one whole winter and into the spring, they stared at each other across the baggage-car compartment, filled along with all the other workmen standing there in dead-pan silence…but they only had eyes for each other. Unfortunately, their mutual shyness stopped them even saying hello and after that summer she never came on the train anymore..Jonothan was heartbroken.

But now here she was..in full life..in exactly the same dress as back then..white stockings, red shoes,  short , white woollen skirt, a red jacket over a pale top with her long-strap small red handbag slung over her shoulder and an extremely cute red beany over her blonde hair…Jonothan was enthralled to see her again.. he made move to go to her but another voice spoke to him..

“Jon?”….Jonothan turned to look behind him and there stood a woman in her thirties..of short stature, very curvaceous with a bob of thick, red hair..

“Diedre!?” Jonothan answered. “ I thought you were gone a long time ago…I was twenty five years old.”

“And I was thirty five..but that didn’t matter…at least not to me.” And Deidre gave him an exaggerated wink. “but then you ended it by going away from me.”

“You were married…to a policeman…he could’ve killed me if he found out.”

“I wanted a child!” Diedre protested..”..and now here we are…it’s still not too late, Jon’…you can stay with me now”…Indeed, she looked as inviting as the first time he had met her all those years ago..

But then another voice called his name..

“Jonothan Potter!” the voice of the nun was stern and chiding..” Jonothan Potter!..you know you are forbidden to play in that drain!…come here!…this instant..stop dawdling and come here!” Jonothan could see the cane in her hand..he had felt that cane before……and since..in another place..with another woman..Maria Rosa was suddenly there in place of Sister Mary Joseph..and instead of the flowing robes of the nun’s habit, was the tight, black leather-lacework of a corset that allowed little to the imagination but so much to the excitement of the moment..

“You know what you must do, Jon..let’s have no more whining and complaining..you have done wrong..”

“Hold your hand out!” Sister Mary Joseph scolded…Jon held his hand out and swiftly felt the cut of the cane across his naked buttocks…it was very painful..but in a soft, sweet sort of way..in that he knew he was paying the debt of his sins..so he kept his hand there while Sister Mary Joseph again brought the cane down and then suddenly there was Maria Rosa with nothing on bar that lace corset..an intense yet sympathetic, almost pitying expression on her face looking down at Jonothan as she brought the cane down in strategic, measured strokes..each with a “whip” sound as it cut through the air..Jonothan writhed in ecstatic pain under the professional domination of the dark-haired beauty of Maria Rosa..and as he knelt there in contrition on his knees, Sister Mary Joseph was whispering sweet words into his ear..and there were the Stations of the Cross on the walls all around the room

“‘Look!” she said, “look how they laugh and mock our Lord Jesus……..” Jonothan’s eyes all wide and staring at the horror of the gore and blood on the crown of thorns and the leering faces of the torturers.  His hands clasping and wringing in fear and horror…He clung to the habit of the squatting sister as she related the means of cruelty inflicted on the body of the Son of God as “He suffered for our sins here on Earth…He suffered for us..” her eyes alight also with the self-inflicted emotional pain of the scenes she described. The young nun then proceeded to instruct Jonothan in the ritual of the journey through The Stations of the Cross..she would say the Leaders chant :

 “We adore thee O Christ, and bless thee.”

 Then she would ask Jonothan to repeat after her..:

 “By your holy cross Thou has redeemed the world”.

Then Sister Mary Joseph softly told him a little maxim of life ; “As a child, we sometimes feel alone..sometimes others do not stand up for me when I am picked on and afraid..so help me Jesus to be strong and protect me in thy light”.

On the habit of Sister Joseph, he touched to feel the heavy-starched white cloth parts of her cowl as she cooed , as with a lover’s breath, the corrupting words of indoctrination into his ear, wondering why it was so sharp…he knelt by her side and felt the heavy wooden beads of the Rosary belt that wrapped around her waist then dangled down the side of her habit-skirt..He was mesmerized at the large, pendulating black cross that swung against her breast as she leant down to him, now voluminously exposed under the loose cloth to his enthralled vision.

Jonothan looked up as the caning had stopped and he was met by a woman in a long gown who informed him that there was a person here who claimed to be his mother…

“who are you?” he asked…

“I am your Aphrodite”…the woman answered and gave a little smile.

Jonothan looked to a dark side of the room that had now become circular with a row of Doric columns around the perimeter…an aged woman in soft knitted clothes approached him and he was now dressed again. His mother reached for his hand and frowned at the welts left there by the cane… completely ignoring those other more salacious welts on his backside…no mother would ever consider her child would indulge in such behaviour.

“Oh dear..this is no good..no good at all”..she cooed..then reached into the pocket of her skirt and produced a round tin, golden in colour with close-knit writing on the cover, but with one familiar identifying brand word emblazoned …

“Rawleigh’s”..then the words “antiseptic salve” under it..

Jonothan’s mother praised the lid off the tin and that familiar smell of the ointment once again wafted to his nostrils..how could he ever forget that comforting scent..for hadn’t it been the mainstay of home remedy for cuts and scratches all his childhood..

“Here we go…” his mother again cooed “let’s put some ointment on these scratches..” and she applied a generous amount of the balm on the welts..then, taking up an old bed-sheet, she proceeded to tear a narrow strip off it until she held a length of the cloth of about one and a half feet in length and about two inches in breadth…she held the strip and then ripped it down lengthways for several inches to make two tails..this bandage she wrapped around Jonothan’s hand and with the tails, ran them in opposite ways around the hand and tied them in a nice precise bow at the back of his hand..She inspected her work and then looked lovingly into Jonothan’s eyes..

“You’ll always be my brave little man..always..” and she stood, looked down at him then turned and walked away..

‘Wait!..wait!” Jonothan called after her..he made to follow, but the woman in the gown stopped him..

“You can’t go there yet..” she spoke..

“But I am here..I am here now…” Jonothan pleaded as he saw the other women turn to walk from the room back through the four doors.

“Not quite…you still have one hand in your other world..you could yet return there”

Jonothan was agast at the prospect of confronting yet again that abhorrent world of anguish and pain..endless, endless work and worry, while here was everything that ever mattered in his life..condensed into this one room..these few people..He flung his arm out in frustration and cried ;

“NO!…NO..I will not return to that horror!”

And if one was present at the chair-side of the dying Jonothan Andrew Potter, you would see his left arm suddenly shoot away in spasmatic jerk to knock the ashtray from the arm of the sofa with the still glowing remnant of his last cigarette onto some screwed up bills due from several of the aforementioned complainants..these in turn after some short time caught fire and the accompanying smoke gave warning to a passing tenant of the floor above who saw the danger of a fire in the very flat under his own and so called both the fire brigade and the police in quick succession…in consequence of the discovery of the current occupant of the flat in question unconscious under suspicious circumstances, the ambulance attended post haste to Jonathan Andrew Potter’s inert body..

After initial conclusion that sleeping draughts had been consumed, the medical officers immediately applied CPR to revitalise his breathing…in this they were successful..but only for a moment as the body of Jonothan again went into arrest and once again the ambulance officers revitalised him to once again see him fall back into relapse..they continued this until a doctor appeared on the scene..

“Damn if I can make it out, doctor”..the ambulance officer complained..”We no sooner get him breathing again when he goes back into a death spiral..”

The doctor applied all his skills to bring life back to the body of Jonothan Andrew Potter, but it seemed as if the Gods themselves were working against them..and he for the last time slipped away into a final deep exhale of breath and sank into the stretcher..the medical officers and the doctor looked in despair at the corpse..then one spoke for all.

“It’s almost as if he didn’t want to even try to come back”. Another said.

“Look at his face..you’d think that was a smile on his lips.”

Jonothan rested with his arms around the woman in the long gown..he was weeping in joy, for surrounding him in the big room were the women he treasured in his past world..now to be together with him forever..

“Thank you.” He murmured into her ear. “Thank you.”

“It’s alright…it’s alright..you’re here now”. The woman replied.

Song of the Mallee.

Part 3 The Last Empire.

In the hour before the umbra,

In the hour before the gloaming,

In the hour before the sun is setting..

When the crow begins its nesting,

When the galahs settle in the mallee,

When the shadows grow longer in the mallee.

With the hardest work of the day done,

With the bulk of the fortnight work done.

This day marked the winding-up of the harvest,

This day saw the last bringing in of the grain.

End of a year’s work of harrowing,

Ploughing, seeding, praying for rain.

Watching crops grow in spring,

Watching till now, winding down,

Watching a year’s work and worry.

The crop is in, harvested, winnowed, bagged,

The carrier with his sons loaded the last bag,

To cart the bags to the railhead,

Bags to be shipped to the port.

A “paying year” for the cropping,

Not a bumper year as two years ago,

A good year for the end of an era,

A good year as far as the head of the family went.

A good harvest to finish up on.

Mattheus Kreuger tipped the last bucket,

Last bucket of hard-feed into the trough,

Mattheus cast his eye over the mix,

Ran his hand through to feel the texture of the mix,

Looked with the experienced eye of an old horse farmer.

Never one to over or under-feed,

His team of working draught-horses.

Knowing from bitter experience,

Knowing from days of want and scarcity,

Knowing the needs of how much,

And of what balance gave good condition,

The health of a working field horse.

“Mattheus!” the carrier called over the yard,

“Mattheus!…we’re on our way” the carrier called,

“Catch you with the receipt at home..”

“Right you are, John..Tomorrow then..”

And the truck gave a heaving, creaking groan,

And lumbered out of the farm gate,

In a cloud of dry, raised dust.

Home for the Kreuger family not these dry paddocks,

Home was in the hills above these dry paddocks,

Home, the main house and spread in the hills,

The wet hills above these dry lands.

Grazing of fat-lambs was more reliable,

Rainfall higher and the grass richer.

Big, blowsy blue and red gums grow,

Where the clouds go by like galleons,

Where the fog and mist lay thick among buildings.

Where home and family grow and prosper.

But as many Mallee farmers,

The Kreugers came to these drylands,

To lay crops of golden grain,

Rainfall high enough to grow rich crops,

Flatlands ideal for horses to pull the plough,

Turning the soil for the taking of seed,

Harrowing to turn the soil,

Harrowing to turn in the weeds.

Whole families with workers and horses,

All the equipment to stay several weeks,

Stay to work , plough and sow the crops.

Then when the crop is harvested,

Again stay several weeks to bring in the crop,

Winnow, clean and bag the crop.

A spacious stone hut built on the paddock,

A stone hut that housed women and children,

Where meals were cooked and served,

Cooked and served to workers there.

At night women and children sleep there,

Workmen bunked down in outbuildings,

Where the harness and feed-stores were kept.

Outbuildings of rugged post and beam,

Outbuildings of pug and pine infill walls,

Rustic outbuildings, but warm,

Rustic thatched roofs giving heavy rain,

Soft, almost silent drumming sound,

As it fell…

Such the routine for many years,

Such the method of farming many years,

But new technology had risen over the last few years,

A new method that his sons were keen to apply,

Mattheus was troubled about handing over to the sons,

Mattheus knew the day of the horses were done,

Horse-drawn methods were redundant,

The age of mechanics had arrived,

The diesel tractor had arrived.

There was talk of “making life easier,”

Mattheus was suspicious of “easier life”,

Time had worked its abrasive grit,

Into both patience of mind and,

Callous of hand.

But he too convinced his father of the benefits

The mechanical stripper over stooking,

Over the old stooking..threshing method of harvesting,

He was willing to give the sons an elder’s respect.

Today was the end of harvest,

Today the family and workers would sit at table,

Today marked the relief of the end of repetitious

Rounds of up at dawn..crack on till sunset,

The work cycle of harvest time.

Magdalena, Mattheus’s wife of forty years,

Would cook and serve the last family meal,

Would serve the last meal of the harvest.

Along with food, end of harvest prayer,

Along with prayer, thanksgiving, and health,

Magdalena would lead the prayers.

From the foot of the long table,

Followed by a loud and solemn “Amen”.

From Mattheus at the head of the table.

This was ritual that finished the year,

This ritual finished the end of harvest,

That bound every member to home and hearth,

Bound every member to family consciousness.

Repeated by many sturdy pioneers,

Many of those gatherings,

Across length and breath of “Breakheart Country”,

The glue that formed tie to community,

Tie to church and from there to each other.

The familiarity of like habits and procedure,

This was the culture of a community.

What food there was,

Gathered from farm garden,

Produce that bore skilled hands of growers,

Skilled makers and preparers.

Recipes for cured meats and cheeses,

Handed down generations,

Sauces and spices made from smallest measure,

Small measure of condiments,

Extracting the richest flavours,

Cuts of meat from home-grown stock,

Into the large wood-fired vault oven.

Served in the hut that held them all,

Whole family, children, and workers,

At the one long table,

Groaning every night with sumptuous fare,

Groaning every night with sumptuous, frugal fare.

Not a banquet of a gluttonous merchant,

Necessary food for hard working people.

Such would give each person fair share,

Every person fair share of the products of their labour,

From both field and garden.

All was good.

All was well.

When an air of sighing satisfaction perceived,

Time for the head of the family to make a speech.

Mattheus rapped the wooden serving spoon from the plate of vegetables onto his plate.

     Mattheus’s Speech.

“I make my speech to you this evening,

This end of harvest night,

Not standing at head of table,

As is the usual sight.

With cup of good cheer in hand,

Giving thanks for a job well done.

Tonight..I will remain seated,

Neither in disrespect nor indolence,

There cannot be a person in this room,

Would doubt my nature by now.

Tonight I remain seated to talk as brother,

Tonight I no longer can claim “boss” overseer.

Tonight…I hand the reins to my sons,

To Peter and Christian to take the reins,

With full blessings of myself and Magdalena.

To take the family farm to the next evolution.

That will change the entire work practice.

That will change work from horse to tractor,

That will end horse and harness era,

That begins the new of tractor and steel couplings.

Myself, now at God and nature’s allotted time,

Of three score and ten years,

I am the proverbial old dog and new tricks,

I cannot change, no right to stand in the way.

But tonight, I talk of other things,

And I trust give my sons, wives, and grandchildren,

Both warning of consequence,

And top up the cup of cheer with measure of hope.

Nature has granted her hand to us,

Given us soil, water, and sustenance.

From time immemorial we harnessed her beasts,

These fellow toilers,

These mute companions of our labour,

We have turned the soil,

We have harrowed the earth,

We have seeded our crops.

From the time when my father and mother,

First set foot in this strange country,

Drew our section of land,

Marked out the space for their home on the soil,

To now when their children sup at the table,

Of their dreams and promise,

It has been done with eyes firm set,

On that measure of a man’s worth,

On the measure of a woman’s worth.

On the measure of home and family,

On a measure of hope.

Our forebears built an empire here,

An empire upon a new country,

Not an empire of an imperial kingdom,

Nor an empire of expansive proportions,

Rather, an empire of hopes and dreams.

Their backs bent to the chores of that ambition,

Without doubt…without fail,

With high faith in their mission to succeed.

Indeed..succeed they must or perish trying!”

        Mattheus paused to drink from his stein of beer.

“A parent’s greatest treasure is their children.

It is the children who carry the future,

Carry it to further horizons,

Further than can be dreamed by a parent,

The safety of children most exercises concern,

What measure of gold equals the harvest of seed,

Seed giving new life, every season to a garden?

What reward of contentment equals a full stomach,

Clear mind and love in one’s heart,

Greeting the start of a full day,

A day of productive and rewarding toil?

Why arise from bed if not to fulfill promise,

And bounty of a life of hope?

That measure of hope that is the right,

That is given to every person born,

Under Nature’s sky and God’s heaven?”

           Again Mattheus paused to partake.

“When I gazed upon the healthy meal,

Magdalena, my loving wife set before me,

I saw the fair measure of meat,

Of potatoes, of the pumpkin grown prolifically,

Over old composting stable heaps,

Its tendrils seeking distant promise,

Like an arm reaching for distant fruits,

A wonderful meal.

All in good measure.

It is that measure I now speak to each,

To each and every one of my children,

To their families to heed, be watchful that envy,

Greed and envy do not cast shadow,

Over future ambitions.

         Mattheus paused to breate deep..

A long life, a hard life taught our parents,

The creed of what is fair measure to aspire to.

Just reward for one’s labour,

There is no sense of satisfaction,

Shirking of one’s fair share of labour,

For where one shirks fair share,

It falls to another to pick up and carry that load.

And THAT in anyone’s sense of justice,

Is failure of duty toward brother and sister.

I hear talk of new mechanics of farming,

Having the means of “making life easier”..

And I have to admit after a bad day,

With horses, harness, and machinery,

Such a phrase would make my eyebrows lift,

Lift in inquisitiveness,

Bring a smile of delightful possibility to my lips.

“To make life easier”….

Isn’t that a hope and dream to aspire to?

To make life easier…but then I ask..;

“Easier from what?”

If one was held in slavery,

Driven to extreme by brutal master and lord,

One would indeed wish for easier life,

Such conditions are un-natural to nature and humanity,

I would trust to all of us here ;

Let no man proclaim ownership,

Over another’s life,

Lest he too be given like punishment.

But no..here, now, on these paddocks,

On this farm, in this part of the world,

What measure of life can be claimed the better,

For the making of it easier?

Will children grow less frolicsome, faster?

Will they learn their lessons more swiftly?

Will the food be more hearty?

Vegetables grow faster, sheep more wool?

Will the ache of work be more assuaged,

With a full stein of beer at day’s end?

And if injured in body…or love,

Will the hurt be less?

And what of this day…this end of harvest celebration,

Will such a thing exist once the mechanics,

Takes away the shared camaraderie,

Of shared, shoulder to shoulder labour?

And what of the table of food,

As we see here in front of us..

Where waste from stables goes to heaps of compost,

Thence to the garden whence comes,

Vegetables to our table..

Where will the waste from the tractor go?

Does diesel and oil give nourishment to soil,

Or will it make waste of the soil,

Thence make life less easier,

For those who must clean the waste?

Will there be need for gathering of family,

Giving thanks for the blood, sweat and tears,

For a year of toil,

When less folk are needed for the harvest?

Will the making of life easier mean,

A lessening of rewarded pleasure, for job’s end?

Is there anyone among us not to breathe,

Sigh of relief at hard work’s end.

But also be content, soul fulfilled, satisfied,

At a job well done?

Does that not also feel good?

And I wonder on the lessening need,

For hired labour to attend the many chores,

For the maintenance of the draught horses.

The Harness repairer, farrier, smithy,

And if they go..what of the town band,

The church choir, baker, grocer?

And what of our neighbours,

Who cannot afford to tool-up to the new mechanics,

Are they to become sacrifice..

To a new world order of “an easier life”?

      Mattheus again took draught and breath.

No..I cannot stand in the way of progress,

But I do give notice to you, my children,

Use caution with this new method of farming,

Let it not take control of YOU.

I know you will have to go to the bank,

To up-grade to the tractors and machinery,

Be warned about the banks…

They have no friend save compound interest,

No mercy save the court of bankruptcy,

And no soul save that traded with the devil.

No..I cannot stand in the way of progress,

So I will leave the farm in the steady hands,

Of our children and wish them well,

While myself and Magdalena seek retirement in Tanunda.

I shall perfect my arm at bowls,

And my ear at listening to the idle chatter of the town.

So let us fill our cups to give thanks,

For the measure of hope,

Promised and now fulfilled…..”

The next morning, while the sunrise was yet low,

And the morning breezes mild in the mallee trees,

The trappings of hut and camp were packed.

The women and children driven back,

To their farmhouse in the hills,

While Mattheus and his sons led the horses,

Down the whitened limestone track toward home.

Song of the Mallee.

Cliffs of the Murray River.

Part 2..A New Generation.

Driven even to further places,

To the Adelaide Hills they went,

To Lobethal, valley of praise.

To Hahndorf to join other pioneers,

Further East to Hamilton, Victoria,

Verdant fields and fruitful crops.

Set up their Lutheran Faith and churches,

On more rich and promising soils.

Still they the tenacious pioneers

Stepped off ship with families,

Stern determination of a surviving peoples.

Nothing could deter their ambitions,

Then came the wars,

Then came again the oppression,

Then came again the name changes,

Town names of German flavour,

Family names of German ancestry,

Department of nomenclature opened,

A ludicrous absurdity of an absurd people.

Facilitate German names to French.

Rhine River becomes The Marne,

Rhine Villa becomes Cambrai.

Hahndorf becomes Ambleside.

Steinfeld is twisted into Stonefield.

Sedan remains Sedan..

French name chosen by German folk,

Mockery of French defeat there.

So Sedan remains,

Mockery of the department of nomenclature,

Mockery of the government historical knowledge.

But the family names change,

Umlauts are dropped,

Letters in names are erased,

Anglo first names used to ameliorate hate

Of anything German.

Then came the second war,

Then came suspicions worse.

Then came reportings,

Then came arrests,

Then came the internment camps.

What dignity the Great Depression,

Had not destroyed, Anglo Government did.

Unity and community not only victims,

The mechanics of war machines,

Perfected the tractor.

Horse farming was broken,

Horse trades were dismantled,

Gone the harness makers,

Gone the saddlers,

Gone the blacksmiths and farriers.

Gone with their families from the towns.

Gone in almost the blink of an eye.

Come the diesel tractors,

Come the motor mechanics,

Come the motor garages centre,

Of the town’s gathering activity

Alongside church and hotel.

Gone also the town bands,

Gone the choirs,

With them the cultural songs.

The small bakeries, butchers,


But the smell of petrol and diesel remain.

And the lending banks came to town.

Like the parasites they are.

And compound interest came into their lives.

Tooling-up is expensive,

Family farms were mortgaged,

Bad years for cropping came and went,

Families mortgage payments came due and went,

Family farms became hostage,

Families became hopelessly indebted,

Families went bankrupt.

Whole era drew to a shuddering close.

Enter this community the wily Cornish,

Enter the carefree Irish,

Enter those Italians interned as enemies.

From the new war.

Step into the picture a Cornish Tinker,

Step into the picture an Irish Mother,

Step into the picture an Italian mason.

Step into the picture the maiden he woos.

“Fair maiden” Riccardo calls “wither goest thou?”

Riccardo’s hand flat, inquisitory,

Like Italians do.

Tess instinctively understands.

“I go walking in the evening air, sir”,

She replies……He nods his head..smiles.

For this maiden was as beautiful as a rose.

As serene as a purpled sunset,

As welcome to the Italian’s eyes as a song to his heart.

“And a beautiful evening it is also, my lady”

“Yes…good sir…I mark how the evening light,

The pale pink of the evening throws gentle shadow,

On the soft, flowing waters of the Murray River.”

Tess wanted to become a poet,

Riccardo wanted to become employed.

“And you wander here every evening?”

“Yes, kind sir…for now is the time of my rest”

“From the big house?” Riccardo asks

“From the station house” Tess replies.

“From the Charcoal Burning camp, I come”

“From the deep mallee of the Italians, I come”

“You are then of the people of Italy?”

“Yes, fair maiden…I am of the Dolomites”

“You are from the interned Italians?”

“I am of those same ones” Riccardo answered.

“I come to this place twice a week”,

“I come to this place for water for the camp”.

“I come to this place for the pleasant scene” Tess said.

“Then when I next come here..” Riccardo said..

“Pray tell me you too may join me,

“In admiring the pale colours over tranquil waters”..

Riccardo smiled the smile of an admirer.

Tess blushed the blush of the admired.

“If good fortune allows, kind sir……I may.” she replied.

For Tess admired the form of this man,

Admired his calm confidence,

His strength of body,

Happy disposition.

“Addio till then fair maiden…addio!”

A passing moment a lifetime make?

A moment’s passion a lifetime’s mistake?

An Italian from the Dolomites,

A maiden from “breakheart country”.

A Maiden from the Murray Mallee.

What can be their union?

What can be their fate?

Can a moment’s passion become a lifetime mistake?

Riccardo to speak barely a word of English,

Tess not knowing one word of Italian,

But they met and exchanged pleasantries,

As only such attracted, diverse strangers could.

For what speaks the language of love

Better than those who are loving..

So will we listen in to their idle talk

With the knowing ears of a universal language.

As even their great difference in age vanished,

As even Madam Time is paused,

Her dead hand held fast as woman slips past,

With but a glance, a wistful smile

To those who adore.

Touch not vain man lest the moment spoil,

To but gaze upon and weep with desire.

And so they met, this diverse couple,

And Tess taught Riccardo the song of echos

Off the cliff-face over the river,

And there they sang songs of love to each other.

At first their songs were for their own laughter

And then their songs were for their own tempting,

And then for their teasing,

And then came the songs of loving….

He sang the songs of his people,

Tess sang the song of her liking..”Thora”

Riccardo sang into the echos..

“What a lovely girl as she does pass,

Oh how beautiful she steals my heart!”

Oh how well you dance, my bonny lass,

How you dance so well your part.

See the Wren in the tree,

How beautiful it sings, it steals my heart!

Come, bonny girl..come dance with me.”

The words reformed and reverberated to Tess’s ears,

As a deep swirl of manly delight.

And then Tess sang into the echos..

“Thy voice in mine ear still mingles

With the voices of whisp’ring trees;

Thy kiss on my cheek still tingles

At each kiss of the summer breeze;

While dreams of the past are thronging

For substance of shades in vain,

I am waiting, watching, and longing —”

And her lyrical voice thrilled Riccardo’s ears,

And filled his heart with longing.

Each to each they sang into the echos

Of the cliffs over the river,

Over the soft swirling calm of the river,

Over the evening light of the river,

And the reverberating echoes mixed their songs

Until the words blended together in soft harmony,

Until the words flowed back to their ears,

Each to each filling their hearts.

Each to each the words filled their senses,

In gentle, joined ecstasy..

And their eyes met each to each,

And their hands joined each to each,

And their arms reached for each to each,

And their faces turned to each together

And their lips touched in a kiss…

Each to each…

Riccardo gazed in loving embrace to Tess and spoke;

“Oh woman..thine eyes alone would tempt,

Greater gods than man’s humble creation,

Thy beauty, even if only beheld in mine eye,

Enough to blind the honest to thievery

And if thou desires,

Let thee accrue the price or cost,

Beholden to no man’s pitiful measure..

For it is thy cup that pours the bouquet,

Let know that YOU will choose the bloodline,

Your body the time and place..no disgrace”

Tess pulled Riccardo close to her body

So her breasts were hard against his chest,

She looked up into his gaze and smiled,

And then let a drop of her spittle to tip of her finger,

And lifted it to the lips of Riccardo,

Who parted his lips and took her onto his tongue.

Tess took Riccardo’s hand and placed it on her breast..

And there under the fall of the evening light whispered;

“Come to me Ricci’..come to me..take me here..take me now.”

And so they lay together on the banks of that mighty river.

On the banks of the gentle, swirling river,

Under the soft evening glow by the river.

And the woman made her choice,

Her choice..glory or vainglory,

Time can grow jealous, men grow old,

Let her choose to look to either,

Heaven befits a granted grace,

And such beauty will reach even the heart of a stone,

But the moment loaned of a woman’s touch

Is enough for a wanting man,

To satiate his thirst for a sensual desire,

To satiate any longing hunger for Heaven’s Gate.

(Nb. This is a “work in progress and may be altered or added to at any time….J.C.)

Song of the Mallee.

Pioneer homestead.

Part 1 ..A New Homeland.

They rolled across the flatlands of the Murray River plains like an unstoppable force of nature..

They rolled with tenacious persistence,

They forged a new Silesia.

They forged a new Posen.

They forged a new homeland.

From the Vistula River they came,

From those fertile river flats and valleys,

From The Oder River they came,

From those hills and mountains.

Where myths and eagles flew,

Where Roman legions once fought,

Took their dreams from their own land.

To this strange country,

To this strange and distance place.

Where dreamtime and eagles fly,

Where the indigenous people danced.

Sang their songs to a new land,

New life gifted from their God,

God of one people, one faith, one fortune.

So they were told by their pastors,

So were foretold by their gospels,

In the faith their version of religion,

Twisted, shaped to fit their character,

And to fit their culture,

And to fit their nature.

No deviation allowed,

No forgiveness those who fell from grace.

No forgiveness for not pulling their weight.

A weight owed both community and Pastor.

Pastor’s words were the words of their god,

Words of their God were to be obeyed.

Churches were quickly built,

Churches were proficiently built,

On that land that still held scent,

Scent of wild animals hunted,

Hunted and held and respected

Hunted by the indigenous peoples

Totems of the indigenous peoples.

Indigenous peoples driven away,

Driven away at gun-point,

Driven from their hunting grounds,

Driven from their living lands,

Driven from their ceremonial grounds,

Alongside stream and river,

Along hills and valleys,

Driven from their own particular “churches”.

The settlers had arrived in numbers,

Didn’t understand the indigenous peoples,

Forced themselves from their own lands,

Forced at gunpoint from their Homeland.

Kaiser’s army breaking the towns,

All the weavers and crafts people,

All the trades and craft people,

Despised also for their culture,

Despised also for their nature,

Farmlands enclosed by cruel governance,

Work-skills torn from their hands,

Forced to re-make their religion,

Forced to re-learn another language,

Forced to change their family names,

Forced at gun-point to flee their country.

So they come far away a sailing,

Far away to this new country.

From far away to this strange country,

With their folk their clatter and cluster.

A desperate people with nothing to lose,

A determined people with nothing to lose.

To create a new home from memory lost.

So the English governors of the day,

Knowing their plight,

Knowing their flight,

Used them to open out that wild country,

East of the Ranges, West of the river,

Open out those hunting grounds,

Open out those indigenous lands,

Used them to push into, force unto,

Confront the indigenous peoples.

Confront true owners of the land,

Force confrontation force the hand,

To “Justify” retaliation.

To “Justify” indignation.

To “Justify” brutal militia retaliation,

By the governors of this new nation.

A collection of criminals,

A collection of prospectors,

A fascist corporate state,

With no regular military,

No sober police force, only delinquents.

Seeking any excuse to break,

The agreement of The Letters Patent.

The Letters Patent that gave right,

To the indigenous people’s rights,

From the King came those rights,

From the Parliament came those rights.

A signed agreement for their rights,

Directed precisely to the governors,

A betrayal of King and Parliament,

By the Governors of the State.

“Governors”..Ha!..better called lazzeroni!

The lands of the Ngayawung,

The Ngawait,

The Ngarkat of the mallee region,

Each with its own beliefs and laws,

Each with its own language,

Each with its own culture.

Driven out from their homelands,

Driven at gun point from their lives,

If not guns then swamped and ruined

By the running of thousands of sheep

Through their hunting grounds,

Over their living grounds,

Through their water holes.

Tens of thousands of sheep and stock,

Ruining feed ruining quarry, water..

Ruining the bloody lot not a jot!

When the indigenous stood ground,

They were shot.

They were small-poxed,

They were given disease,

They were given alcohol.

The women prostituted.

Their whole system was betrayed

Religion, laws, ceremonial culture,

A society guarded by kinship,

Knowledge from the Elders,

Knowledge passed to the younger,

Exactly as our “civilized” culture,

All this was lost in the melee.

Hunting grounds and boundaries lost,

A network of respect lost,

A network of ritual lost,

A network so lost and destroyed

With the coming of the middle-classes.

White men with their property boundaries,

With their titles of land ownership.

With their grazing erosion,

With their grazing destruction,

The end of millennia ways of life.

Of corroboree and songlines.

It is gone,

It is gone,

It is gone.

Came the Silesian settlers who knew no better,

Who too were fighting for their lives,

Used as blunt-instruments to confront

Used to clear-fell the mallee.

To clear-fell too small blocks of land to farm,

Allocated to them from far away.

“Trees don’t pay taxes” they were told,

So the taxes were eternal,

But the trees were not.

Some will have to break,

The weak will fall, strong take all.

“Let the strong swim,

The weak may sink”.

Underestimated were these new settlers,

Determination, perseverance in measure,

Already had they been tested,

By their own German government

Had they not been harried, shot, chased

From their own homelands.

Compelled to “Germanize” their names,

Their religion, their cultures..

The new Republic of Germany.

Suffer the consequences….

So they came,

A multitude came,

With their Pastors,

With their gospels,

With their songs,

With the village,

To Australia…to South Australia.

To the end of the century,

They came,

The Sorbs,

The Wends,

Slavic peoples in ancestry,

Germanic in nationality,

Eastern European in geography.

They came, veni.

They saw, vidi.

They conquered. Vici.

Three waves of Germanic migration,

The Eastern farmers and trades,

They brought their animal husbandry.

The cultured Urban Middle-class,

They brought opera to the state.

They brought vineyards to the state,

The proletariat industrial workers,

Brought their skilled metal trades.

Held themselves to themselves,

Settled in The Barossa Valley,

Settled on the St. Kitts, Kapunda lands.

Farmed the Steinfeld,

Farmed the Truro,

Farmed the Murray Flats,

Farmed from Eudunda to Sedan.

Worked their tynes knife-blade thin,

On the “Break-heart country”.

Spoke their own native tongue,

English in their homes a second language.

As any families who have lost everything,

As any who had been granted second grab at life,

They took no prisoners, social, pragmatic.



Protected their own.

Small hamlets scattered on the mallee,

Small hamlets under one pastor,

Families all working together,

Families all praying together,

Their land leased from a tyrannical landlord.

A fascist corporate state,

A fascist South Australian Company,

Even before the name “Fascist” was defined.

Cruel landlords keen on speculation,

Keen on entrepreneurialship.

Using the German pioneers as cheap labour,

To clear that land recently stolen,

Stolen from the first peoples.

Northern clans and tribes driven,

Massacred by advanced weapons,

Weapons imported without restraint,

Weapons of the American carbines,

Carbines to replace the black-powder muskets,

Muskets that needed close-quarter contact,

Close contact that at least gave a chance,

To the skilled indigenous spear throwers.

To at least fight back.

Then on it was shooting fish in a barrel.

It was all over..

New hamlets come to grow,

More children come to grow,

Hamlets come to grow into towns,

Farmlands start to produce profits,

German peoples start to organize,

Civil governance, local councils,

Town bands, choir, theatre they made,

Organised around church and pastor,

Liaison with central state government.

But kept at arm’s length,

Kept away from state intrusion,

Kept themselves to themselves,

Still suspicious of the English landlords,

Still wary of the English system.

Still leery of the hard hand,

Hard hand of the ruling class.

Ruling class that valued little,

The use of an alternative culture,

The songs of a cultural people.

Would cast adrift any group,

Any peoples hindering their path,

Toward total capital domination.

Suspicion from both parties ruled,

Little done via civil intrusion,

Intrusion into health or education,

The Germanic clusters with own schools,

With unpronounceable names,

With inflexible natures.

Watched with suspicion,

Watched from afar,

Left to their own devices,

So when disease swept the clans,

So the central administration,

Did what they did to the indigenous peoples,

…..They left them to rot!

So they drained the swamps,

So they farmed the flatlands,

So they farmed the hilltops, stoney flats,

Draught horse and harrow,

Picking up the stones by hand,

Making piles from the back of a dray.

Farmed their lands with wood and iron,

Wood, iron and steel ploughs,

Till the tynes and shares were worn,

Worn to a slither, blunt as a gibber.

Farmed the wind-blown flats,

Sang songs to the billowing clouds,

Even as their families died with the fever,

Even as their children died with diphtheria,

Or harrowing births gone wrong,

Attended only by young girls as midwife,

Too frightened by ghastly complication,

Of a childbirth gone wrong,

To do little but cry in shock,

What could very well be their own fate.

Died in fires and accidents,

Too frequent to collate,

On a statistician’s slate,

Too far from medical assistance.

Left buried in sad cemeteries

Serenaded through the fall of time

By lonely, sighing sheoaks around the perimeter of the church yard..

“Peter’s Hill”,

Under the lee of Marschall’s Hut,

Under the soil interred sixty-eight souls,

Forty two there are children.

What can a people do with an “unholy site”,

That taken so many of their small ones,

The count of tears becomes so high,

The count becomes so intolerable,

Move away from that “unholy” place,

Move over the flat-lands of the Murray plains,

Their names spread like Summer chaff,

Place to place,

Town to town,





Driven by a faith unstoppable,

Driven by a courage inviolate.

(Nb. This is a “work in progress and may be altered or added to at any time….J.C.)

Song of The Mallee.

Mallee Tree.


As the sunrise upon the morning,

So sunrise on the mallee dawning,

Upon The Mallee brightly shining,

We hear crow announce its calling,

Calling, calling, rousting crrrarking!

Carrakkkk, carrrarking treetop calling,

The crow to its family warning.

Hear the butcher bird chortle,

Hear the honeyeater sparkle,

The magpie and the wagtail squabble,

Galahs and the cockatoos scraying

The kangaroo with joey in the stubble.

Wombat and possum trumble.

We hear the wanton, woeful die ,

Of the bush stone curlew cry.

So we begin our story telling,

Our story of our ancestors telling

That came from afar seas a-sailing,

That came afar with their families sailing,

That came many to a land so willing,

A land willing tho’ crops a failing,

Walked to the lower Flinders Rangers,

With their ploughs and animals trailing

To farm there that treacherous climate,

The rain follows the plough

They believed.

But it didn’t.

And their farms died,

And their animals died,

And their dreams died,

And their children died there.

So were the Sorbs again driven,

Driven from their German valleys homeland,

Driven by the King’s armies attacking.

The Silesian weavers and their offspring,

Came with strength and courage unfailing.

That came the Selisians and the Posens,

That came the Wends and the Sorbians

I will tell you of their stories,

Of their travail and trying stories.

I can tell you of their stories,

Because I have been watching,

I am the watcher always watching,

From the rim of a far horizon.

Came with them their families and friends,

Came with them their Pastors and their religion,

Came with them their trades and skills,

The farriers, saddlers and horsemen skilled,

The farmers, bakers and carpenters too,

Came the music came the songs,

Came the singing from far along.

That came from afar seas a sailing,

Came the Irish,

Came the Italians,

Came the Cornish to mine hills and valleys.

All of them come and bring their cultures,

All of them come and bring their families,

Come and come so many singing,

All of them come and bring their cooking,

Food exotic and tastes of heaven,

Work as hard as any draughthorse,

Work as long as work was willing.

Work always there for the tilling.

Women bearing so many children,

Bearing also many still-born children,

Graveyards with young women filling

With both mother and in-birth child a dying.

The ground awash with tears a falling.

Sheoaks around graveyards sighing,

Whispering names of dead and departed.

Only the Sheoaks now left lamenting.

Let me tell you of their story,

It will be telling of the last story,

This epic will be their last story,

This poem will be the last of that era,

This time has gone and so far ended,

This time has so far gone and passed

As have all those players passed

As have all their done deeds passed,

As have their guilt and innocence passed,

Their work and building and lived lives passed,

All the farmers, their wives and children,

Gone, gone to the history past,

Gone like yesterday’s sunset past,

Gone like youth’s wild laughter past,

Like the brown leaves of Autumn fallen…

Like empty husks of Summer seeds fallen,

The summer crops pouring their seeds

Onto the Earth and onto the stone,

A heart of stone the world has become,

A new world rising of stone and cinder,

Where hope is but a one minute wonder

Where love is but a speculative opportunity.

This is why we will not survive,

This is why we will not survive,

This is why we will not survive.

Through war and plague we did thrive,

Disease and disaster we did survive,

Small tribes wandering water to water

We did survive,

We did thrive,

Hunting ground to hunting ground wander,

We did survive and thrive there under.

Shelter to shelter, hut to stone,

We did wander..we did thrive.

We did live..we did survive..

Alive for one primary desire,

Desire for one other’s life..

Desire for that loved one special..

Special loved for that one desire..

A certain one within the tribal clan,

A special one within the tribal group.

Within the shelter of the tribal clan.

Protected by the shelter of the tribe,

The one who shared our likes and dreams,

The liking for particular fruits and seeds,

The liking for a singular woven cloth,

A place of refuge,

A place of resting over others.

In times more conducive grow,

Within the heart grow to love.

Within the tribe grow to love,

But can such a thing be allowed to grow,

If not in the interest of the culture,

If not in the interest of the tribe.

What the custom where the culture,

If not of the interest for the tribe,

If not of the interest for the lovers.

And of the class and of the creed,

Can love form outside of these?

Outside of station in the culture,

Outside of position in the status.

Yet regardless if ever consummated,

Regardless of such station born,

Still will embryonic desire grow,

Still will the beginnings always show

Of that need for imagination show

Of those hidden senses and know

That the heart will hold the tender fruit

And the senses in conspiracy stored,

For those who are loved and adored.

These are the people my story tells,

Unknown people my story tells,

Neither brave nor heroes be,

Neither great lover like in history

There are no heroes in my story,

No heroes and no Gods in this story.

No Gods to steer or to control,

So let this story epic unfold,

This story that so needs be told,

I will make this story unfold,

For I am one of those families old,

That lived and thrived in this country,

Family that lived and died in this country.

That gave all they had to this country,

I AM the story of this country.

(Nb. This is a “work in progress” and a larger body of work is to follow….there may be adjustments and corrections as I go.)

Proverb / parable.

Woman and man at the well.

Proverb: “A cottage of your own is better than a palace shared with others.”

Parable:  Along The Appian Way, between the town of Benevento and Apulia, in the Apennines of Italy, there was a small village. In this village there lived a widow who owned the best well with the sweetest water in the district..Travellers on The Via Appia could drink from this well for the price of a sou left in the “honesty box” at the well-head. The widow, sitting at a window in view of the well, at her sewing or making her meals, could see those who drank from the well and if they left a coin after.

Many men would drink from this well..and with a gesture and a smile to the widow sitting at the window, would tip a sou coin into the box and the widow would smile encouragement to them.

One very hot day in the height of Summer, a beggar-man stopped at the well..he had no money at all to pay for a drink..yet he was very thirsty..he looked to the widow sitting at the window and his sorry state told her the tale..but she was a kindly woman even though quite poor herself..so she nodded her head to the beggar to help himself to drink from her well.

He took a long draught as he was very thirsty, and putting the vessel down, he picked up a piece of soft stone from the road and wrote something on the wall of the well..then nodded his thanks to the widow at the window and went on his way.

Curious as to what the beggar had written, she made her way to the well and there read the following words..:

“In thine eyes,

A spirit fine.

In your gift,

A loving kind.”

The widow was so touched by these words, she rushed down the Via Appia to offer the beggar man a place at her table, food on his plate..and a bed for the night..and in the morning he worked his keep and by all accounts, is still in the company of that widow.

The Last Ecstasy of The Forbidden Fruit.

I am one of the religious assistants at the Catholic Church of Our Lady of Sacred Hearts in the Parish of Mariden..Actually, I am a Seminarian.. a priest in training..My name is Brian Hurley..I have the job of approaching anyone I see in the church on days of confession to assist them if they need comforting after their penitence and to offer them a tract of comforting words we have printed up for such occasions. I can also take them to the little café we have prepared off the side of the church proper and offer them a cup of cheer and words of comfort if needed…I have been voluntarily employed in this enviable position for three years now..and I am thankful every day for the opportunity to give the help of Jesus to those willing to let him into their hearts.

It was in the application of this most fulfilling duty that I approached an old man in row three of the pews from the front…He was sitting in deep concentration so I quietly asked if he would like some help with his sentiments..

“Please”..he replied “ I am concentrating on my thoughts before I speak to Father O’Brien in the confessional and I would like some peace..thank you”..

Of course, I apologised most profusely as I believed he had come FROM the confessional and was resting after his penitence..and I humbly made my way out of his personal space. But I could tell from his speech that he was from an Eastern European bloc nation..and from his body shape Slavic, I was thinking. It was later, in the small café that I again saw the old man..sitting at a table near the window in silent, pensive thought..He had a cup of coffee in front of him that he sipped from in a desultory manner. I again approached him to again apologise for so rudely disturbing him earlier..I was armed with a cup of tea and several biscuits on a side-plate to make my approach more congenial.

“May I join you?” I asked…The old man looked at me in a fixedly manner grunted and motioned with his hand to the seat opposite..I smiled my cheery “hail brother well met” smile, sat and used the sugar bowl to spoon in a serve of sugar to my tea…I offered my hand and my name..he looked at my hand like it was a sticky sweet but gave his name…he refused the offer of a biscuit.

“Millitich”..he spoke the Millitich word with heavy pronunciation on the “ ‘tich “ ending so it sounded “titsch”..the one name being the only one offered.

“Oh..right..” I responded “Is that a Hungarian name?”

“Serbian” he replied.

“Oh..Slavic “ I encouraged.

“No..it is Serbian..I am frrom Serbia.” I was chastised.

I thought it best to take a familiar approach..

“I’ve seen you here quite a few times lately, but not in church on Sundays..do you have another church you go to?”..I was quite aware that some parishioners will go to a distant church to take confession, reasoning that no-one will recognise them when they go..sin, it would seem, doesn’t necessarily always follow the guilty. The old man placed his hands in his ample lap and leaned into the table.

“Why would I go to your church on Sundays?” his thick accent slowly inquired.

“Well…this IS a Catholic church..and you DO go to confession..so I presume. . . “ I left the answer in the air.

Seeming to have resolved a dilemma in his mind concerning myself and my interest in his company, Millitich rested back in the chair and looked at me a long time before answering..It was like he was “sizeing me up” as a possible confident..I could feel my grin go from “cheezy” to “cheese-cake”..it wasn’t going well..this old man was hard work. He inhaled heavily through his expanded nostrils and spoke heavily and meaningfully.

“I do not go to your church, Mr Hurley, because I do not believe in God..I am an atheist.” I have to admit this flippant bit of information flabbergasted me.

“A..an atheist” I replied in a vague way trying to regain my balance. “But you go to confession.” I probed.

“You are again mistaken, Mr Hurley..you see me go into the “confessional box” (he made inverted comma signs with his fingers around the word ; confessional) so you presume I am taking the confession..but I am not..I am going to the box to give information to the good Father O’Brien.”

I was now not only surprised, but intrigued.

“Information?” I automatically responded “of a general topic…like on the weather, for instance?”

“Personal”..Millitich pouted toward me.

“Oh well..then that can be like a confession.” I cheerily replied.

“Except I have not sinned, Mr Hurley…I have done no wrong thing TO confess..I am simply informing the good priest of my thoughts…which..while they may be sometimes of a…colourful nature, are of no consequence to himself or the God above.” And he raised his eyes to the church ceiling. I pressed on, with a degree I have to admit, of pique..for here was this old man, uncivil to me along with little care or apparent faith in my church or my Lord Jesus, yet he is brazen enough to front the most private of places where a person can seek the ear of The Lord to have their sins washed from their souls..yes..I was offended.

“Well…if it is of no consequence to God, why go to the confessional at all..why not just make an appointment with Father O’Brien and speak with him in his office?” I must admit my voice became a tad inquisitorial at the end. Millitich sat silently, heavily, like one of those paintings of an ancient Chinese emperor you’d imagine..He sat there in deep silence while he contemplated his answer..when he did it was more than I expected..

“You’re a rather impertinent little man, Mr Hurley…who do you think you are..coming to my table uninvited..”his lip curled as he gazed at my side-plate of biscuits..the one remaining shortbread looking now quite lonely and pathetic “With your tazza di te and your little biscuit…..We talk of love, Mr. Hurley…a love that the good father could never consummate and I with my age can no longer contemplate..we talk of a love only I can tell of and only I can share with the priest behind the screen.. I go to the confessional because there, what I say the priest cannot reveal..and conversely, what I tell the priest I am sworn by my own want of privacy..or else I could tell any inquisitive stranger…like yourself, MR. HURLEY”.

With that last emphasised naming of myself, the old man rose and made his way out of the church.

I cannot begin to tell you how deeply offended I was..I could feel my cheeks huffing and puffing from anger of the arrogance of that old poltroon! I sat at that table in low temper for quite a while longer as I plotted to hear just what those two were discussing in the confessional…I justified my contempt by wondering if old Father O’Brien..Father Stephen O’Brien.. was coming down with senile dementia and this Millitich chap wasn’t taking advantage of his failing mental capabilities. So I made it my objective to find a way to listen in to their conversations… It was the thought of but a moment to resolve to place my mobile phone in recording mode near the ceiling vent of the confessional the next time this Millitich blasphemer made a visit..and if that Slavic chap was up to mischief, well..I’m downright going to do something about it!..I cannot stand by and see my faith mocked..

So I made it my business to keep a wary eye out for our MR. MILLITICH and then to place my listening device over the ceiling vent of the confessional where I would be able to record every word, cough or mumble of these two conspirators!

It was another fortnight before I spied Mr. Millitich making has way toward the church nave on confession day…I quickly made preparations with my recording device placed strategically..I would later retrieve the phone and listen in to all they said.

Well…I retrieved the phone after Millitich had left and I played the result…Heaven’s knows what their previous conversations were like, but this one wasn’t that exciting..but it looks like we will be seeing less of Mr. Millitich now, if what he said is true…here, I’ll let you listen in…:

“Good morning Stephan”…

“Good morning again Saavo…how is your health?”

“About as good as it will ever be, Stephan…and yours?”

“God will provide…”

“Doomed like the rest of us oldies then.”

“Well, Saavo…I do not have the luxury of distraction that you cultivate..I have this…flock..of recalcitrant sinners to deal with…it is they, I suspect, who will put me in the ground before any disease.”

“Ah yes, Stephan…The saints and the sinners of Christendom…I believe your Jesus became a victim of the same sentiments.”


“My turn to laugh!…but I suspect you may have a fifth column in your congregation…I think Mr. Hurley suspects me for a communist agent trying to turn you to the dark side.”

“Mr. Hurley, Saavo..is of the middle-class, his parents wanted a doctor, lawyer and a priest in the family..kind of like “criminality with insurance”…and typical of that class, he suspects everybody of something, it wouldn’t surprise me if he was listening in to our conversations.”

“Well, Stephan..we have a saying in our country..: ‘doctors, lawyers and priests…one will ruin your health, one your pocket and the last ; your soul’…I may have inadvertently given him cause last time I was here…he was getting somewhat nosey about our “confessions” and I told him we talked of love.”

“He wouldn’t know what the word entailed…even his love of God comes with a rider written up, no doubt, by his brother the lawyer…and speaking of such, tell me Saavo of the latest turn in your affair of the heart…does it progress, is it true..is it a false love?”

“Now you are mocking me, Stephan..you know I had no choice in the pursuit of this …arrangement”.

“Not at all, Saavo..in fact, I envy you the freedom to move about in public un-noticed as you constructed your seraglio of desire…I, with my cassock am far too visible to be able to gaze too long at the opposite sex without contempt being heaped upon my person.”

“Have you not one or two delightful nuns to assist you in your imaginings, Stephan?”

“Bite your tongue, Saavo and say a dozen Ave Marias for penance or I’ll have Mr. Hurley flog your hide with the in-house flagellation whip for your blasphemy!”

“Well..Father O’Brien…I do beg your forgiveness..but I pity you your imposed celibacy of body and mind…especially the mind..for I would have passed away if I had not discovered this outlet for my desires…But I have important news regarding my “love affair” with the delightful Alessandra of the “Spiked Echidna Café”…”

“Oh…tell me..did you finally make a fool of yourself and confess your affection to the embarrassment of the poor woman?”

“No…I was all for continuing our secret “affair…”
“Saavo!..for shame..you can hardly say “our affair” when the lady in question had no idea you were using her person and personality to construct this imaginary liaison with her.”

“Wait…let me explain, Stephan…as it turned out, it was less imaginary than I thought..after all, there is more to this world than your philosophy can explain, my dear priest..As it turned out, I was there at the café last Tuesday, enjoying my usual short black..being served at the table by the adorable Alessandra..we exchanged as per usual the daily pleasantries, myself stealing and storing the memory of the inflection and tone of her voice as she spoke for later reminisce..and I thanked Alessandra with using her full name…though she allows others there to address her as “Alex”….Alex, do you mind…a beautiful name like Alessandra to be “Aussified” into a mockery neither male nor female..but there it is, Australia; the common denominator…but on to Alessandra..I remember once when I had cut the back of my hand and I had one of those wide, cloth band-aids across it..Alessandra saw it as she was taking my order and asked what had happened..I told her and to my surprise, she took my hand in both of hers, her right hand flat supporting my injured hand palm to palm..I recall how warm was her hand…why are women’s hands so soft and warm even when they do hard work? Her other palpitated over the cloth plaster..she looked at where the wound was , then to me…to me quite intensely she looked and she asked ;

“Does it hurt, Saavo?…”..of course I replied that it did when it happened but it is alright now..but she repeated as if she had not heard me..”Does it hurt, Saavo?”…..I just looked at her and did not answer but took my hand away from hers..they were so warm…but now, Stephan….now I know why she was asking..what it was about she was asking..it was not about my wounded hand, but about the hurt in my heart..for you are very aware as are all us aging men who know there is little hope of finding another defining love affair as we head into eternity…never more to have our hunger for the delights of a woman to caress and fill our senses with their lyrical voices and sexual perfume..it is a cold lonely ride on the ferry across the Styx I am sure..with only Charon for dubious company…why, when there is still the furnace burning fierce in the body must a smothering social obligation of the “Grandfather Image” of some revolting Walt Disney type character be the only model for us older men…that or the curse of being shunned as a “dirty old man” for harbouring those desires that once were not only natural, but expected of the male…who can stop the speeding train once it is shifted into motion…who has the right?…

Anyway, Stephan…I had my coffee, collected the days reflection of the delightful Alessandra and I turned to go, Stephan….I turned to go and just then a lady at the table next to us shifted her chair and so my foot caught in the chair leg and I started to fall…I grabbed for something to stop but there wasn’t anything there..all of a sudden I was clasped and held and gently lowered so I only fell to my side…it was lucky..it was fortunate and I looked to see and thank my saving grace and there she was…it was Alessandra who held me…

“Are you alright?’ she asked and I could see by the look in her eyes she really was concerned..but I was too shocked…not from the fall, you understand, Stephan?…not from the fall but from the fact that here was my “lover” embracing me and asking after my wellbeing.. I couldn’t talk, let alone give a sensible answer..

“Is there any pain…does it hurt?” Alessandra asked…her eyes just there, her voice almost a whisper into my ear.. and I could feel myself falling…going into a faint, a swoon.. and all I could see was her face and the ceiling fan spinning slowly, rhythmically overhead, blowing wisps of Alessandra’s hair as she leant over me, her hair dropping either side of her face shielding us from the view of the people around..as invisible to me now as the silence was so solid and palpable..and I cannot be sure if I fainted away or dreamt it, but I sense I replied to her..

“Yes…yes, Alessandra, it hurts like never before”..

“Does it truly hurt?” she asked again and I saw now that she was not asking after my physical self, but after my deeper self…and it was at that moment we touched…not physically, you understand, Stephan..nor of the heart or soul as they say…but another place, another part..a part of ourselves that has no name…but beauty…an un-named beauty that is untouchable between a man and a woman..and I then realised she had known of my want for her from a long time ago..and so I looked straight into her eyes and replied..

“Yes, Alessandra….it does hurt….it always hurts..”

“Yes, I know”..she said in a whisper “ It hurts for me too”.

“You have to be more careful of yourself, Saavo..” she softly spoke “You must take care…” and I as suddenly awoke from my trance and became aware of the noise and people around me.

Well with Alessandra’s assistance and some others I was helped to my feet, dusted down and I went to go on my way…I turned one last time to look to Alessandra and her eyes said it all..

“Take care of yourself, Saavo..” she said.. and I nodded my head toward her in silence and with abashed eyes, I turned away.

“So you see, Stephan.. unbeknown to myself, and all this while I have been…”manufacturing” my little fantasy of an affair at a distance…my own liaison amoureuse a’ distance.. Alessandra has been playing this same game with me…Why ?….I confess I do not know.. ..But I do know that I will keep up the pretence..and I suspect Alessandra will also..what choice do either of us have, the public will crucify us if we did otherwise…it’s a cruel world, Stephan..a cruel world.. But I will not be gracing your confessional any further, Father O’Brien..I have no more need to ‘confess’ my fantasy”.

“Are you sure, Saavo that you can hold to such secrecy?”

“I have to, Stephan…I have to..it’s now part of the contract we have made between ourselves..we cannot..dare not reveal ourselves…but yes..I..for my part will hold true..I WILL hold true to Alessandra”…

“Goodbye Stephan…and good luck to both of us.”

“Well…goodbye Saavo…and best of luck…and Saavo…on your way out, perhaps, for me, take Brian Hurley to a pew, humour him and please..say a prayer for this old man”.

What needs to be considered.

Worker and Kolkhoz Woman' – Moscow, Russia - Atlas Obscura
Worker and Kolkhoz Woman.

Humbly taking a bit of a lead from V.I.Lenin’s “What is to be done”, I would like to frame a conversation around a continuation of debunking of the “LNP/Labor duopoly” bullshit with a debunking of my own around the term : “Working Class”…ie; as a description of a labouring demographic or as a political entity.

For many years, I wasted words and energy writing on so-called “Progressive-left” blogs, trying to instill an ethical base centered on the working -class, as both majority producers / consumers and as the potential absolute political leaders in our society..I failed miserably, not through wont of trying, but rather through a stubborn refusal by so many comfortable situated in those blogs from a secure in both financial and principled middle-class base..so much so that there was obtuse confusion among the bloggers there as to actually WHAT “class” really meant!..not even being aware to which class they belonged or even IF such a thing as “class” even existed!..to the point where the gatekeepers and cabal acolytes of those blogs had me first exiled and then expelled for upsetting their middle-class sensibilities…Now, I see those same bloggers so enthralled with their own intelligent observations about the physical limitations of the current incumbent of office, that they pass their time in such full agreement with each other so that you’d need a three-pronged hydraulic puller to extract them from each other’s rectum…being not confused while doing so as to where their anal sphincter meets their eyebrows!

When one hears the expression ; ” those of the working class”..or ” the working people”..one is conflicted to confuse the labouring for wages / producing population with the world-wide political collective : “The Working Class”. This obfuscation is deliberately encouraged to try to drive division between the several strata of working people by the bourgeois media and management lobby-groups like the Business Council or the IPA. So that “working-class” becomes a amorphous body without direction or principles of agenda.
Let us use our common sense and a bit of logic and reason to differentiate between them.
Anyone who is paid according to an amount of work or product or hourly rate for what they “work” with their hands or physical labour ie; “piece-work”, can obviously be classified as of the working class..be they farmer, labourer, tradesman, classroom teacher, production worker or even in many cases ; armed forces serviceman. If they are paid on an hourly rate, piecemeal, or contract quote for a completed product, even if they are their “own boss” like a self-employed tradie, they are still working class. If they move from the “shop-floor” to become a supplier / contractor / entrepreneur, then they move out of the working class to become part of the managerial middle-class.. ie; “middle-men”, holding that ground “in the middle” between production and distribution of finished product..it’s not rocket science, you know.. It doesn’t matter if they were once solidly of the working class …once they move into profiting off another’s  labour, they move into management, they are of the middle class.

As a matter of fact, there now is rising from the working-class, a new curse of exploitation ; an underclass..ie; that group of working poor on “zero-hour contracts”..the food delivery workers, Uber drivers etc..the closest thing to slavery that we in the twenty-first century first-world society have. The latest morphing of supreme exploitation from the morally degenerate middle-classes.

The political “Working Class” is a world-wide generic term that covers all the above in any consideration of fair pay and conditions for what they produce or the hours they put in. The recent cases for the dairy farmers, family orchardists and other small-family primary producers is an example in point..for while many may consider themselves “above” working class status, however, despite the many hours of hard-labour they put in, they are still fixed in a labour-style negotiated market…even though it is an unfair market..their produce is subject to an unfair discrimination of big-corporate managed investment scheme farming..where massive produce bulk is either shifted away to foreign markets or dumped onto the domestic market to control pricing..for the small “generation farmers”, THEIR  produce and therefor their labour is fixed by corporate management manipulation and so many must now look to support from their cousins in the city working class for political and financial support.

The history of “Working Class” political struggle and confrontation has a honourable pedigree going back to the most ancient of recorded primary source history in the west. From Ancient Greece / Mycenae to Rome and then progressing down through the ages to now. There has never been a pause, not for world war , nor from right-wing political oppression , in the fight against Corporate / Capital greed lunging at the throat of the labouring classes through their political arms..The Fascists of yester-year or today ; the equivalent in the LNP.

The division that the Bourgeois media, be it main-stream or social try to confect is in the confusion of the educated working people / classes with a carefully and strategically placed “Bogan” element of the uneducated working poor. These bogan victims of their own vanity, uneducated and/or too lazy to read and therefor honourably educate themselves like millions of their fellow citizens have, are soft putty in the Machiavellian hands of the strategy managing Middle Class. The honing-in on the simple, the banal, the slogan as a answer to the beautiful and harlequin complexities of Multi-culturalism by gross demeaning and abuse / demonising of minorities demonstrates the desperate lengths the right-wing side of politics will go to continue the robbery and fraud and taxation evasion so very rife right throughout it’s members…a clique of indolent, indecent, immoral nation-leeches.

So let us never confuse the political aim of the generic ; “The Working Class” with the people they are both members of , yet also representatives of, ie; the ideals and realities of those most in need of over-reaching representation through strong, honest unionism and a strong determined political party..the uniting of both these organisations into a seamless weld of strength and ethical ideals is imperative to the best solution for both the world-wide and the local supported working classes.
Forever United we will NEVER be Defeated.

Amelia di Cielo and the Blackmailer.

Image result for Pic of old Italian woman carrying a bundle of sticks on her back.

The story below is from an age of a kind of fading feudalism…an age when position and religion ruled the small villages dotted amongst the Dolomites of Northern Italy. It was told by my father to my mother and then to me. It is from around the turn of the 20th  century, when the church creatures wielded enormous power in the communities. It is a tale that could be told from any number of small village life in those days…the tyranny of power, no matter how small, over those who could be exploited, who can be silenced…perhaps not THAT different from now!..The actions by the criminals can be the same, but it is how the individual overcomes that  bullying that is different. Some run, some succumb, some become violent…the “hero” of our little moment, from the lowest rung in the social ladder of such a community, chose instead, chose deliberately to rely on her self knowledge and self confidence in her own honesty and character…for no recognition, no reward and but for this story, completely forgotten…to me there in lies true courage .

I have dramatised it because in itself, if told as a passing anecdote, it could be told in a paragraph or two..but that would be to omit the background and the build-up toward the crux of the story- line. So c’mon..ride with us on the tail of the tale..so to speak..

Read on…

Amelia di Cielo and the Blackmailer.

Amelia di Cielo was a widow who lived many years ago in her sister’s house in the mountain village of Vigo-Lomaso set snug at the foot of the Dolomites in the north of Italy. Being a widow in a small village had its drawbacks in those days, as she had no-one to support her, being also without children, she would have no-one but her sister to look after her in her old age. After cautious consideration of her status in the village pecking order, Amelia di Cielo decided to take in laundry to earn a small income. She also would walk up into the mountains and gather bundles of thick-twigs which she would tie up with stout twine and cart back to sell for kindling. The money from these small enterprises would, she hoped, be enough to put away for her old age.

Every day she could be seen hanging her customers’ washing, like brightly coloured banners flapping in the breeze, on a long line between two trees at the back of her sister’s house. She would hang her customers’ washing between two shawls, one orange and one black, given to her by her mother years before; this was so there would be no mix-ups with her sister’s clothes. Amelia took pride in her humble little business, and as with many people of such penury, she put that extra effort in applying her labour, her “elbow-grease”..  her clothes were so clean they seemed to glow with brightness! The other village women walking past always remarked with a shaking of their heads and a waving of their arm: “Amelia.” they’d shout in greeting “Amelia di Cielo, tell us how you get your washing so bright!” Amelia would laugh and shout back: “Wouldn’t you like to know. But then I’d be out of work!” And the women would stump away shaking their heads and grinning and Amelia would laugh in sympathy.

In the same village there lived an old widower. His wife had died only that year and he was having some difficulty keeping the house in order. Amelia did the laundry for the woman next door who told her about Signor Cacchio’s misfortune.

Being a kindly person, Amelia, after some thought decided, as there was only he in the house and there wouldn’t be much washing for only one old man, she went to Signor Cacchio and offered to take in some of his clothes for free. She could easily fit in a few of his essentials with the rest of the wash: “A spoon­ful of water doesn’t make a difference to a river,” she said to herself. But there; its a curious thing that the best of intentions can sometimes lead to the most insidious accusations. The parish priest’s assistant was a mean man. He could even be called a criminal, indeed, a criminal.

Lay brother Fichi had the eyes of a stalking animal; always looking, looking, looking. He saw himself as a self-appointed guardian of the dioscese and printed a parish newsheet. He wouldn’t neglect to print if it suited his intent, in a cunning ‘off the cuff way’, any tasty bit of gossip he set his stalking eyes on and his large, large ears heard!

On one of his stealthy strolls about the village, he spied Amelia di Cielo coming out of the small flat of widower Cacchio with a bundle of clothes. To any other person this would have been logically assessed as Amelia picking up the laundry of another customer, and promptly forgotten, that is, to any other person, not Lay-brother Fichi!

He slyly observed Amelia for the best part of that day washing those clothes along with the rest of her customers’ in an old copper out the back of her sister’s house. As she was pegging out widower Cacchio’s trousers, Lay­brother Fichi smiled a wicked smile to himself. Taking himself out of hiding, he sauntered up to Amelia di Cielo with his hands in his pockets.

“Good afternoon to you, Widow Amelia,” he smirked. “A goodly swag of washing today……,but rather a poor customer.”

He lifted the damp trouser leg of Signor Cacchio’s and let it flop down heavily on the line. “What would you charge a widower that everyone knows has less gold than a silver shilling?”

“I do not charge him at all,” answered Amelia di Cielo.

“But you go to his house?” queried Fichi slyly.

“And I take out his washing,” said Amelia quietly. For she was well aware of Lay-brother Fichi’s wily tongue.

“You may say that, Amelia, but do the parishioners of this village know that. Or will they suspect an illicit ‘acquaintance’, an ‘opportune’ aquaintance with Signor Cacchio, who as everyone knows should still be in mourning for his dearly departed wife. Could this be an affair without the ‘blessing’ of our council?”

Amelia kept washing the clothes, but slower now as. she grasped the cunning insinuation of his conversation. She looked him up and down out of the corner of her eye.

“They do not ‘suspect’ yet Lay-brother Fichi, but I’m sure you could concoct a tale for them.”

“A tale, Signora? I see with my eyes, I tell. Let others believe what they will. I am but a messenger of the dioscese.”

“Of the devil!” muttered Amelia. “But why do you watch me, Lay-brother Fichi? I am innocently doing my daily chores!” Amelia struck her small clenched fist angrily on her chest. Lay-brother Fichi just smiled his cunning smile and spoke condescendingly, almost affectionately to the widow.

” Caro   Ame1ia” he smi1ed. “At your age!, don’t you know its almost always the innocent that are accused! One rarely gets to see the ‘guilty ones’ commit their crimes.” And here he chuckled softly and gazed over his shoulder.

“Besides, he added seriously, “times are tight just now!”

“Well what is it you want Signor Fichi? To tell me these suspicions of yours?”

Lay-brother Fichi kept one hand in his pocket and with the other lifted the trouser leg of Signor Cacchio’s and let it fall, again and again, slowly, while he appeared to deliberate on Amelia’s question.

Though it may seem strange to you; an educated cosmopolitan, that any accusation of moral impropriety could have repercussions against such a person as Amelia di Cielo, you have to understand village thinking and social structure of that era. The church and it’s creatures were high powered figures in the communities, they wielded enormous influence on the peasants there. A village population has the collective person­ality of a single individual: a bit independent, whilst at the same time part of the crowd, a little suspicious, totally trusting, a free thinker a bored conservative .. All this and more, but at the same time it loves a lurid tale, especially an immoral one, and

Lay-brother Fichi was one of the best at ‘dressing up’ a lurid tale and Amelia was just the sort of innocent victim that such people love to pitch on .. Still more, other people love to criticise..and to be ostracised from the community in those times, when in such an impoverished state was almost equivalent to a sentence of death.

“I want you to be able to keep your little business going, Amelia di Cielo.” He looked slyly at Amelia who remained silent and continued to plunge the clothes into the steaming water of the copper.

“I want people to be able to confidently trust their washer-woman not to ‘stain’ their personal linen with any sin of impropriety. But of course, I must report to the parish any.. er, indiscretion that I witness..unless?”

“Unless what, Lay-brother Fichi?” Amelia whispered. Signor Fichi looked slyly over his shoulder, but this was not new ground to him.

“A small amount of liras could keep my lips sealed.”

Amelia froze in her actions for just a second and a puzzled expression came over her face.

“How much?” she asked, automatically curious.

“Oh, I know what you charge and how much you take in. Let us say ten per cent per month.” He smiled as though he had concluded a cunning business deal.

Amelia thought fast, for although Signor Fichi had the criminal’s cunning, Amelia too, was cunning and she had time on her side. It seemed so simple, yet so complicated. All the pros and cons of the situation went into and out of her head. It wasn’t a question of guilt, she was old enough to know how people thought; it was enough in bored people’s minds to be even accused of an impropriety. It was enough for people to savour the luxury of seeing someone else getting it in the neck for them to ostracize her and then she would lose her customers. One by one. Oh yes, a few would stay, but only out of being seen to snub their noses at village convention, But their custom would be like cold charity. No, there was no defence with whining explanations to all too eager ears: “No smoke without fire!” she could hear them say. No, she would have to think of something else to shake this leech off her back.

“All right Signor Fichi, give me a day … no two!

Two days to reconcile myself and I will see you again …………… but not here. I don’t want people to think the evil that you presume. I will meet you at the Trattoria on Thursday and we will conduct any business we have to do there.”

“Very well, widow Amelia, ciao till Thursday.” He lifted the trouser leg of Sig. Cacchio’s again with insinuating intent and smiling his cat smile, let it flop down heavily. “Till Thursday morning and no later.” He turned and slunk away.

“Oh Dio, oh Dio.” Amelia sat down on a small green stool next to the tub that held the wrung clothes, What to do, what to do. She needed time and quiet to think. She finished her washing and hurried off to the church. She enjoyed the dark silence of that building and there she could pray and think.

“Maybe God will find me a way,” she mused.

She spent some time there without coming up with a solution.

Many times she cried out in her heart: “Dio, Dio, please show me a way to deal with this thing.” But she could not see a solution. She rose achingly to her feet and started out. Just before the door was a shelf in the wall where a small wooden box sat, containing a collection of pictures of saints and other tracts of biblical quotations that would be taken home by the parishioners for their own perusal. Amelia stopped next to the shelf and reached for the box lid.

“Is it in there, Lord?” she looked back to the altar for a moment for she had a feeling…, then she lifted the lid of the box. It was always half full of those tracts and pictures, but now it was empty, not one in there ..

“There is nothing in there, Lord!” said Amelia in a dis­appointed voice, She stared at the empty box and repeated in a fatalistic voice:


“Nothing,” she repeated again with a quizzical frown on her face. A small knowing smile came to her lips and she let the lid fall with a ‘clack’ Her eyes narrowed as she thought the thing out. Amelia turned sharply to face the altar at the end of a long flag-stoned aisle, smiled cunningly, genuflected and skipped, as lightly as someone her age could skip, out of the church.

The priest nearly collided with her as she went through the portal door.

“Ah, a lovely afternoon, widow Amelia,” he beamed.

“Yes, Father, but I trust it will be even better Thursday.” She didn’t wait to explain to the raised eyebrowed priest and just scurried back to her room at her sister’s house.

Thursday dawned bright and blue, the cool mountain air washed a song over Amelia di Cielo’s heart, her steps seemed to float and she hummed about her chores with a little song on her lips.

“Ah, my love, that you were with me now,” she sighed wistfully. Today was her saint’s day. Today she would deal with Lay-brother Fichi.

She busied herself finishing her customers’ laundry, hung them out to dry between the two shawls, changed to her street clothes and set off in the bright sunshine to meet Signor Fichi outside the trattoria.

Amelia plodded up the slope of the village; stopping a moment, she gazed back to her sister’s house and saw all the washing flapping in the back garden. It looked good, it was HER income, HER living. And there was this pest trying to blackmail her out of even that. “Bastardo!” she hissed. She plodded on to the trattoria.

“Ah, here you are then, widow Amelia,” Lay-brother Fichi greeted her. “Well let’s have it.” he nodded quietly.

“Not here in the street, surely, Signor Fichi,” Amelia replied, “Let us go into the trattoria and you can buy me a little lunch and we will conduct our business in congenial privacy.”

She smiled coquettishly.

Lay-brother Fichi narrowed his eyes suspiciously. He tried to fathom this little widow. But such people find it difficult to conceive treachery in their victims, so he dismissed her with a polite gesture of sweeping arm that gesticulated to the entrance of the restaurant.

After the waiter had placed her meal in front of her and gone away, Amelia gazed at the food happily and announced proudly:

“Today, Lay-brother Fichi, is my saints day!”

“So it is widow Amelia,” he acknowledged. “So it is. Happy Saints day.” And he poured her a glass of white wine. He filled his own glass, put the stopper in the bottle and raised the glass.

“To our little business,” he toasted sarcastically “and to St. Amelia as well,” he smiled wickedly.

Amelia di Cielo did not smile, but pulled a small packet of tightly wrapped paper from the folds of her dress and placed it in front of Lay-brother Fichi. He kept the glass of wine raised to his lips and with his right hand dipped the small packet down on to his lap. He placed the glass on the table and slyly started to unwrap the packet. He undid it with an expectant smile on his face, but this soon changed to perplexity as he reached the centre of the packet.

His mouth opened in wonder.

“But Amelia di Cielo,” he hissed softly, “there is nothing in here.”

Amelia put her fork down on her plate as Lay-brother Fichi sat there staring at her. She dabbed her lips with the napkin.:

“No, Lay-brother Fichi.” She looked sternly at him and thumped her fist loudly down onto the table. “And there was nothing in the trousers either!” she cried triumphantly.

Lay-brother Fichi sat there stunned. Amelia continued in a voice that drew the attention of other people there:

“And there is nothing in your empty threats. And there is nothing also in your public opinion. I call your bluff Lay-brother Fichi, I call your bluff! I am only the widow Amelia di Cielo..In your world, a little bell, YOU ; see yourself as a large hammer.. I have only my reputation,but it is a reputation I will stand firm on, so wield your hammer, Lay-brother Fichi, Mr.big-wheel in the diocese, print your insinuations and by the chime of my little bell, I and all the village will see you fall by them. And I say this; YOU-WILL-NOT take my living from me!” Amelia stopped and gazed so fiercely, so intently at the man, that he was thunder­struck by the power of this little widow. He just sat there open-mouthed staring back.

There is a moment in the confrontation between people, when, amongst all of the rambling argument a truth comes out and, as if lit by sunshine, it glows and as sure as while a lie will weaken and destroy a person or subject, a truth gives strength and power to a person or subject, all parties are at once aware of that power.. it can even stop the conversation  surprising even the speaker of such truth as if it came of its own accord! Amelia di Cielo spoke that simple truth now. There was a silence in the trattoria..people were staring.

Lay-brother Fichi could sense in the heartfelt emotion of her statement that he was beaten. Only a fool would challenge such a strength and he was no fool, though he suddenly  realised  he had paid for her meal!

“Madonna mio, ” he gasped and clenched his teeth.

He stood up to leave, very red-faced. Amelia raised her glass of wine as he pushed his chair back into the table.

“To my Saint, Lay-brother Fichi,” she toasted. Lay-brother Fichi straightened sternly , took the remainder of the wine off the table, bowed his head and turned to the door, the crumpled paper package still clenched in his fist.

Cogito ergo sum..

Mnemosyne - Wikipedia
Jupiter and Mnemosyne (the Goddess of memories).

Cogito ergo sum ;

“I think, therefore I am”…

Can this be the sum of parts, the total the making of a man?

Cogito ergo sum..I think..therefore I am?

But what is it we think OF, that best explains WHO I am?

Better perhaps to say; Memoro ergo sum;

“I remember, therefore I am”.

For it is memories of a lived life that more maketh a man.

What are we without the sentiment of reminders,

That places rich colours on the canvas?

Like a watch-maker’s fidget wheels,

Turning, turning, turning..in sweeping tireless whorls.

Layer upon layer of the mechanics of a lived life,

Jewels and teeth and precious times..and yes..strife..always strife,

I cannot..will not deny to myself one treasured jot,

Take the worst with the best…I’ll take the bloody lot!

The unstoppable march of time has come,

The ferryman of The Styx calls to claim his alms,

I will welcome him to my house with a chant of psalms.

My command of such memories maketh me more of a man.

So . . .

Memoro ergo sum,

I remember, therefore I am…

The Story of Hannibal / Hannibal’s Tale.

A little Christmas story for you.

This children’s story has it’s origin in two events. The first was in my wanderings as a much younger man trying my hand at opal mining…not so much mining, really as ; scratching around. In amongst those months of loneliness up in the desert, I had as a “pet” companion, a mouse that I caught one day eating at a packet of biscuits…I named him “Hannibal” and I kept him/ her in my top pocket fed on bits and pieces of crumbs .

The other part is filled by an old miner who lived in a “dugout” hole in the side of a hill a couple of miles away, like the pic below.

Image result for old dugout coober pedy pics.

He was quite old then and his “dugout” in the hill contained only a big iron-frame bed and one small picture hanging precariously on the cave wall..It was a painting of a sailing clipper-ship that he assured me was the very ship he sailed in to Australia so many years ago. The “dugout” he lived in had a big hole in the roof that with the bright moonlight shining in, would give the super-white alunite walls a kind of blueish-phosphorous glow…quite a sight with he there on the edge of the bed talking of ships and seas while we were both in the middle of a vast desert!

Image result for Spinifex hopping mouse.

Spinifex hopping mouse.


The spinifex hopping mouse, also known as the tarkawara or tarrkawarra, occurs throughout the central and western Australian arid zones, occupying both spinifex-covered sand flats and stabilised sand dunes, and loamy mulga and melaleuca flats.

Scientific name: Notomys alexis

The Story of Hannibal / Hannibal’s Tale.

When old Charlie took me in as a live-in companion, I was living out in the sticks…most of my life had been a close encounter with the seedy side of life..a pretty hairy existence. So I was quite happy to be nothing more than a “conversation piece” to a lonely old man while I got my room and board , along with regular meals free of charge.

It took me a little while to get used to his house and habits…some of those older folk have habits of doing things that have taken them dozens of years to perfect. But I didn’t mind, he was always quiet in the mornings as he come to the breakfast table…just saying ;“ Hello Hannibal”..that’s the nickname he gave me..He reckoned that anyone as tough and resilient as myself deserved a heroic name! He didn’t really expect too much conversation, and sometimes he would even ask me something and then answer for me as well.

Sometimes he’d take a piece of rock out of his pocket and ask;

“What do you think of that colour, Hannibal?” and he’d answer himself before I even had time to think..” ..well I think it’s nice…a bit on the pale side, but it will scrub up well”.

I think it was just the fact of having some company there that cheered him up, and sometimes we would do things together ..”I want you to stick close to me today , Hannibal..I want you as close as my shirt pocket.”

On some days, he’d take me with him to work..

“Today, Hannibal, we are going to drive a little way along the east ridge..I think we might find some colour there”…and if it wasn’t too much of a tight squeeze on the drive, he’d take me with him for a bit of company, keeping up a running commentary of what he was thinking while he worked. It was often quite entertaining and I didn’t have to contribute to the work or the conversation at all as he told story after story…he didn’t even expect me to laugh..  though they could be sort of funny at times, I think he would have been shocked if I did laugh!

At night, he would cook up a nice little dinner and I would get my meal from the best bits…with all the trimmings of a yeast bun dessert, or a biscuit .

At bed-time he would see me to my room with his “Tilley lantern” , and make sure I was safe and comfortable for the night before going to his own bedroom…all in all, it was a very nice billet for the several months I was with him.

Eventually though, he had to let me go..I am afraid some of my nocturnal adventures had got the better of me and I came home with my three tiny babies…and he had to rename me ; “Hannibelle”. Old Charlie said he was too old now for the pitter-patter of little feet, and I had to find a place of my own.

He read out a letter his sister wrote to him to say she too had; “… found another nice “home” that HE could go into when he was ready..after all, he wasn’t getting any younger..” and he sighed and shook his head .

“Hannibelle” he said ; ” I’d rather live in a hole of my own choosing..if they don’t mind “.

Old Charlie has since left the district to go to another mining town , because that was his life ; he was an opal miner you see?..and he had to let me go my own way..after all, he couldn’t be expected to take a Spinifex hopping mouse and all her offspring with him in the inside pocket of his old jacket, could he?

Image result for old miner's trucks pics.

Can the citizen body(social) litigate a political body (corporate)?

Here’s a little teaser for the weekend..But first let me make a disclaimer : I have no training or standing in any platform of the study of law and I place this debate on site for whomever may be inclined to contest the proposal..

It has to be admitted that the fair state of security anticipated and expected as compensation in what we call ; “A Civilised Society”, comes at some cost to both the citizen and corporate body. This civilised state is trusted to be implemented by those political representatives elected and remunerated by The Citizens of The State. What can be called a “Duty of Care” responsibility.

When we attend daily to our work, business and social activities, we expect to do so with a sense of security and calm deliberation as can be best achieved in the civilised state that has authorities and policing arms to maintain law and order in such a manner as to give that sense of calm deliberation that all is under control and we need not be afraid nor concerned.

And, in a civilised state, THAT is how it should be.. IF those elected representatives did their job properly!

Necessity of settlement and all that comes from an established population that is self-reliant and all-inclusive, demands legal boundaries that give clear understanding of the rights and obligations of both corporate and citizen body…These boundaries are the obligations agreed upon by representative members elected to oversee a Parliament that makes such laws and agrees to such social and infrastructure changes as required when needed. It is when these political bodies lapse in their duty of care or deliberately institute legislation detrimental to the citizen(social) body in the majority that it has to be asked if such action calls for the Citizens of The State to instigate legal “class action” against the political (corporate) body to recover and compensate for damages done?

What is a legal person or “citizen”?

“A legal person (in legal contexts often simply person, less ambiguously legal entity) is any human or non-human entity, in other words, any human being, firm, or government agency that is recognized as having privileges and obligations, such as having the ability to enter into contracts, to sue, and to be sued.”

The term “legal person” is however ambiguous because it is also used in contradistinction to “natural person”, i.e. as a synonym of terms used to refer only to non-human legal entities.

So there are of two kinds of legal entities, human and non-human: natural persons (also called physical persons) and juridical persons(also called juridic, juristic, artificial, legal, or fictitious persons,Latin: persona ficta), which are other entities (such as corporations) that are treated in law as if they were persons.” (Wikipedia…)

So it would appear, to this lay person at least, that there is some scope to name BOTH the citizen(social) body and the political party(corporate) body as “entities” with similar rights and obligations even while they are held apart by a necessity of legal identity.

“While human beings acquire legal personhood when they are born (or even before in some jurisdictions), juridical persons do so when they are incorporated in accordance with law. : (Juridical person : Entity (such as a firm) other than a natural person (human being) created by law and recognized as a legal entity having distinct identity, legal personality, and duties and rights.)”

Given then that both citizen and political party can be seen as having identity obligations toward civil law and order, and the breaking of an “agreed contract” between those two parties by either of those two parties, would it then allow a case of litigation to be measured against the offending party? In other words; When we have a political party (say; The LNP) deliberately enacting legislation favourable to a vested interest embedded within that political party but detrimental to the citizen body, would there be scope for a class action by the citizen body to recover damages from that individual political party?

“In some common law jurisdictions a distinction is drawn between corporation aggregate (such as a company, which has a number of members) and a corporation sole (which is where a person’s public office is deemed to have a separate personality from them as an individual). Both have separate legal personality. Historically most corporations sole were ecclesiastical in nature (for example, the Archbishop of Canterbury is a corporation sole), but a number of public offices are now formed as corporations sole.

The concept of juridical personality is not absolute. “Piercing the corporate veil” refers to looking at the individual natural persons acting as agents involved in a company action or decision; this may result in a legal decision in which the rights or duties of a corporation or public limited company are treated as the rights or liabilities of that corporation’s members or directors.

The concept of a juridical person is now central to Western law in both common law and civil law countries, but it is also found in virtually every legal system.” (Wikipedia)

Incorporation of political parties

Parties are required under the definition of ‘political party’ in s.4 of the Act to be an organisation before they can be eligible for registration . . . “ (AEC : Party registrations / Incorporation of political parties).

Given that most well-established political parties are registered corporations, surely that would place them under the obligations of corporate law? And even though they can claim “mandate” by gain of office to frame and pass legislation, if they promise one set of objectives BEFORE gaining office and indeed, used such claims TO gain office then do a turn around (as was denied and then done by the Abbott LNP government) and institute political actions and legislation that are destructive to civil institutions and civil infrastructure when in office…surely there is scope to construct a class action by the affected citizen body to recover and claim compensation NOT from The State (a separate social body from the corporate political body) , but from THAT particular political party?

“Sovereign states are legal persons…The concept of legal personhood for organizations of people is at least as old as Ancient Rome : a variety of collegial institutions enjoyed the benefit under Roman law…: “Ius Naturale, Ius Gentium”…: Law of Persons, Law of Property, Law of Obligations..” (An Introduction to ; Roman Law..; Barry Nicholas)

Go for it : Discuss  . . .

The oily impotency of the servile crawler.

New Yes Men Memes | Roof Memes, the Memes

They give me the fuckin’ shits!…You see them all over social media these days, their oleaginous flattery dripping off the sleeves of their latest hero blogger..the servile adoration sickening in its agreement and self-boosting affiliation to vicariously suck up to some degree of perceived wisdom.. to what is most times an article or opinion stating nothing more than the bleedin’ obvious.

“Oh (insert name) “ they’ll say..”I couldn’t agree with you more!…you’ve stated in no more than a thousand words that perfect description of : ‘Oh I knowwww’ better than Sybil or I ever could have….re–spect !”..or wttfuckinge.. What has happened, I have to ask, to that independent Australian spirit?…where has that singular individualist gone?…where now the iconic “Simpson and his donkey”.. the no-surrender young lovers in “Jedda”… that rebellious cast in life’s tapestry from Ned Kelly to the Eureka Stockade warriors?…Where the strong, independent women of Lawson’s stories and the feminist movement’s Germaine Greer in Australia’s growing nation? Are they all gone the way of the Tassie Tiger..nothing now but the rumour of a sighting amongst the wilds of an ever so obliging, mundane suburban terrain?

Back in 1979, Keith Dunstan put out a book called : “Ratbags”..in praise of the eccentric, individual who takes pride in going against the grain of social conformity..it lists such characters as Barry Humphries, Germaine Greer, Xavier Herbert and Frank Thring among a host of others…some still living, some dead and many teetering on the edge of the abyss..

To quote from Dunstan’s book..:

“. . . A ratbag is someone who dares to be different; a ratbag is the creature who creates a pinnacle, perhaps only tiny above a great drear of conformity. . . “

Conformity seems to be the idealist aspiration in these times..the materialist / social perfection…the consumer adulation for gimmickry..the low-brow ambition to be in total agreeance with those you admire..or at least want to be seen to admire. And I can’t believe it is in the nature of so many people born and raised in a country free from military, social and political pressure, to want to be so embarrassingly servile to their peers to the extent of eye-watering obsequiousness..in short, to want to become that worst of creatures : A Crawler!

Again to Keith Dunstan: “ Patrick White was always under suspicion of being a ratbag. Like all great writers, he suffered merciless treatment from the critics . . . He had to win the Nobel Prize before he was accepted in his own country”…This form of cultural cringe is prevalent among the sniveling classes…where they refuse to acknowledge a person or artist without they first getting official “cred” from a “certified authority”…preferably one from overseas. That is why you will always hear a guest commentator being introduced on Radio National with gushing reverence along with a string of prize wins or credible university degrees or honours…clearly a sign of the continuing insecurity of a national psyche.

I would join with but not necessarily agree with those disgruntled ratbags and eccentrics who in disdaining the conformity of a legion of sycophantic, crawling “yes-men” whose only stamp on life will inevitably be the petulant foot of the spoilt and denied brat, and I take great pleasure in telling those who would try to buy us off with worthless materialistic currency to take their small-change opinions, their grovelling conformist posts, their “Oh I adore you!” adulation, convert them to the metaphorical zacs and dinahs and well and truly shove them up their collective, irrelevant arse!

HERE : This is an example of a ratbag of the first order…may there forever be warm slippers on HIS feet in winter, a warm meal on his table and a fire burning bright in his hearth!

The Phantom Turd Flinger of Preston.

I heard this snippet of information from a mate who was from Melbourne..He evidently had once met the above individual who claimed the title. This in itself, demonstrates the profound difficulty that both religion and the civilizing arms of a bourgeois society are up against when they proselytise for conformist behavior from the citizens of a nation.

Evidently, the desire of that individual to perform such an act arose from the result of many sleepless Friday nights when local hoons would, after closing time at the nearby hotel, commence to drink in the car-park and then proceed to do burn-outs there under the shouting and cheering encouragement of mates and girlfriends..all accompanied by the throbbing bass thumping of “doof-music”, that penetrated the very earth under the Phantoms house and rose to the surface, apparently and bizarrely under his very bed!

He set about with a vengeance driven by insomniatic hate to construct a catapult out of a discarded leaf-spring from an old Holden car (“built for Australian conditions”?) Upon completion and testing and alterations and more testing, he ended up lobbing a satisfactory test “package” at the desired target with all the skill of a trained artillery officer. One has to give credit here for the determined tenacity to try again and again the varying degrees of tension of the spring, the direction – allowing for wind speed – of the “missile” and the parabolic curve to reach the desired target with a high degree of accuracy.

Now, I have to wonder , considering the “manufacture” of his “missile” , whether he kept a few “in storage” or he produced  several “on the day” of the presumed Friday night raucous. I would plunge on the latter…: “fresh is best”…as they say, for he would “deposit” a “bomb” in a soft-paper-bag, tie the top and place this in a fixed tin on the plate of the leaf-spring, drawn down in tension ready to fire..he would then set the direction desired and with a look to the sky for a hint of wind speed, do the final adjustments for the mission..

On the night in question, he set about his task with a anxious trepidation..and why not?..after all, here was the “acid test” of much planning and hard work..not to mention the pride of the idea of conception. Needless to say, going by the title of this piece that he achieved in notoriety, his “bombardment” of the hoons and their coterie was a ghastly success, judging by the screams and chocking sounds of vomiting and retching that came from the general direction of the car-park..the burn-outs soon stopped and our anonymous hero from the suburbs went to sleep once more with a happy and satisfied heart..his last waking thoughts dwelling on whether he could use his contraption to wreak havoc on some nearby industries that he found unsuitable to his contentment of habitat.

I have to comment that it must be admitted that many of us meander through this life in an aimless fashion, driven by the winds and tides of social currents, without achieving any accolades of admiration at all..So even though this chap could not without some criticism claim the title afforded him, he could go on his way with the inside knowledge of “a job well done..well done indeed!”..

Ah!..this world is full of marvelous idiosyncratic characters..which demonstrates that God, at least, must have a divine sense of humour.


In Responsum.

What is the true meaning of 'hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil'? -  Quora
Speak, see, hear, show no evil..

There seems to be a lot of accusations from that coterie of hem-huggers to the cloth of left-wing radicalism that accuse some of being little more than attention-seekers on the pages of some so-called “Progressive” blogs. This reply is NOT to those I mention above as I have grave doubts they will even have the nous to comprehend the points I make…but since ANY mud thrown has an adhering quality on social media particularly when the individual is denied, by blocking from the site, the right to confront his false accusers, I give cause for my confrontational attitude to the attention of the more discerning readers that will take time to reason out such a cause.

Let us start…:

A while back, in response to a Dr.Georgio Venturini’s article ; “Beyond the Palace Letters” on the AIMN blog ..;  https://theaimn.com/beyond-the-palace-letters/  , I posted a comment drawing attention to what I saw as a familiarity to his intent to analyse the historical development of Australian Politics to what I saw as a connection..in principle…to an old Roman drinking game called in modern parlance: “Passatella”…known in latter-day Southern Italy as : “The Law”. This is not some ordinary “game” as we understand games with either card or dice….but it is socio/political game played out with the cruellest of intentions over the café table…It has a benign “face” but a malevolent underpinning of structure that understands and makes use of the lingering hatred and enemies of the individual players…here..:

“Passatella – Italy

Called ‘sadistic’ by some, this Southern Italian drinking game has its roots in the traditions of the convivium, but it’s quite different, with far different consequences for ‘losing.’ The game was played (or at times banned) throughout Italy for centuries. Passatella has many variations so we’ll stick to the basics:

  • Eight to ten men would pitch in to buy drinks to be shared by all.
  • A game, such as bocce, dice, cards, or morra (see below) was played to determine a padrone (the boss) and a sotto-padrone (the underboss).
  • A round of drinks was ordered.
  • The padrone drank the first glass, in a single gulp, and then offered the second glass to his sotto-padrone, who did the same.
  • The padrone then began offering cups to the other men in the group, each of whom would have to ask the sotto-padrone for permission to drink. If granted, that man drank the cup, again, in a single gulp. This process typically involved insult-laden speeches explaining why or why not a given man was being offered (and granted or denied) a drink

This would go on until the round was finished. A new game would be played to determine the next round’s padrone and sotto-padrone until everyone was good and drunk or a bit of violence broke out. As you can imagine, if the padrone and sotto-padrone weren’t equitable in doling out drinks, as some men got drunk, and others suffered through the rounds soberly, the insults and reactions could escalate. As the rounds went on, if certain men kept being denied (drinks for which they chipped in money!), well, that’s when the game turned ‘sadistic’ if common folklore is to be believed. Vengeance is said to have often involved knifings, which, given the game’s not-so-subtle allusions to the Mafia, isn’t entirely unbelievable.” ( https://vinepair.com/wine-blog/learn-6-historical-drinking-games/ )

The reason I included mention of this “game” was because it perfectly describes the passive/aggressive nature of Australian politics and as far as I am concerned, who controls left-wing debate on social media. Where those who hold the power to grant hearing via condescension and/or privilege to those they favour and to “set the dogs onto” those they do not, is a regular feature with the MSM and on some “left-wing” blog sites. I know, for I have travelled this route many times.

This call to now having to justify a position on many posts is not a new thing to many of us…It first started for me back almost five years ago when I published a “light-hearted” post calling for a : https://freefall852.wordpress.com/2016/04/26/a-revolution-against-the-middle-classes/ …I posted that piece on another pseudo “Leftish’ blog (“The Pub”)…and I was immediately attacked by those moderators and “favoured hem-huggers” on the site for daring to attack that class that they claimed was a fully represented majority on that very site!…For daring to critique them and that class, I was “sent to Coventry” ie ; blocked by the gatekeepers of refined blogging!…many of us on the far-left have experienced this vindictiveness.

At this point I have to here humbly but proudly make claim that…I hold an unenviable position of being..of late..now VERY LATE!..one of the most left-wing radical posters on those blogs..my many articles and stories leaning more heavily to the left of Chairman Mao than seeking the comfortable centre…There is a reason for this.

There is now resident within the left of politics a cabal of succubus/incubus of middle-class placaters who rather than radicalise politics, seek to control the conversations through a false doctrine of “calming reasoning” and “soft-cock placating” of the voice of protest….another post I placed in my own protest of this creeping virus…: https://freefall852.wordpress.com/2018/03/20/just-who-controls-the-conversation-of-left-wing-politics/  ..it was this post that sealed my fate with those “finishing-school radicals” and they set the dogs of those blogs onto me…and like the above game of Passatella, the main controllers make certain they do not get their “hands dirty”, but let their lieutenants snarl and gnash their teeth.

This “just peachy” attitude to politics has given strength to the right-wing media to lay the  claim via covert agents that there is little or “no difference” between the major parties..and if one reads the wording, the tone and the criss-crossing lines of neo-liberal economics over the last few years…which is what is so frequently referred to in the claims…there is some cause for the justification of the accusation…the object being that once the position of “both the same” is accepted by the voters, the right-wing media can resume with uninterrupted distraction to plead their shitty policies as “equals” on a now level playing field…which we are now seeing..and THAT is because I BELIEVE the left’s genitals are now securely in the comfortable “Gucci-gloved” grip of the socially acceptable middle-class dilletantes of politics. It is why the right-wing is using forceful words to sway an indecisive voting public to doubt what they would label as ; “wishy-washy social policy” and to embrace fascist absolutism…in an uncertain world of apparently increasing violence, many look for security to what they perceive as a position of strength.

And that is another reason I have grave doubts about many of these spruikers of virtue signalling and button pushing pseudo left-wing ideals…while at the same time keeping a cautious, unwavering eye on their social and financial status and would be prepared, I’d warrant, to change boats midstream if anything threatened their long-term financial security quicker than you could hum the last two bars of Wagner’s ; “Gotterdammerung”…I don’t trust these political feuilletonists to hold ground when push comes to shove..I suspect they will fold and quickly meld into the ranks of the opposition as the middle-class has, in so many more than one period of Australian political history, their carefully chosen language as well at home in the plush parlours of the private clubs as on the pages of their favoured blog where they wield more power than their limited intellect ought or deserve to be granted.

And THAT is why I will continue to stir the pot of coagulating “progressive” porridge…to stop these self-congratulatory virtue-signallers in their tracks…It is why I believe we all have to hold to that doctrine of “continual revolution” to belay the whispering imp of self-satisfaction with one’s position from making us lazy and indolent..NOT to seek attention, but rather for us all to PAY ATTENTION!

The Jewel of the Eye.

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The farmhand held the burly sheep tightly by its head and rump. The farmer lay his two hands flat, side by side on the sheep’s back and pressing, spread the dusty coloured fleece to reveal the glowing, creamy fibres beneath. The thick, smooth fleece seemed to glow with health. You could smell the lanolin. The farmer looked up at the helper, “That’s the real McCoy!” He smiled. “Look at those fibres. It’s a real beauty!” He let go of the wool and the gap in the fleece closed up and the animal was released.

The soft wooly clouds parted on that November day and the sun beamed down on the creamy limestone road of the small mallee town of Sedan.

“Hello,” his smile beamed out from a ruddy face, and the storekeeper lay his hands flat on the wooden counter. “I know now,” the storekeeper snapped his fingers. “You’re the new bloke in town,” he offered his handshake, “I’m Hans Bulmer.”

“I see you’ve taken up Schirmer’s old place.” The storekeeper continued “not a bad site in the town.”

“What? Oh don’t worry about fitting in here, I reckon it’s more a matter of you accepting us rather than us accepting you.” Hans Bulmer pulled over a stool and made himself comfortable and crossed his burly arms. His brow knitted thoughtfully:

“In my experience, the people who don’t meld into these small towns and end up leaving are the ones that won’t accept us for what we are. Oh, I’m not saying we’re faultless, just the opposite rather. But you have some that see us country people as a little..er.. backward, you know…hayseeds behind the ears and they like to have a little giggle at our naivety. Well, like I said, those people don’t fit in … don’t want to I think, for once the giggles wear off they get bored with the place and move off to giggle at other people…you know?”

“Here, have a glass of orange..No! No! on the house, welcoming gesture..cheers!” The storekeeper belched: “Pardon!”

“Well, I’ve been here my whole life.  Was born down the road there, and I can tell you we’ve had some beauts in this town. Probably no more than any neighbourhood, but still..Now take old Willy Meister, silly as a wheel, harmless, but still  they put him “away” for a while you know, used to get around town in women’s dresses, and if you made a remark at him, why he’d up and double over like this…lift his dress and bare his ugly hairy old bum at you..gawd it was a sight..some of the chaps over the road there at the pub would jibe him just for the spectacle of it all, ha!  still, the local copper got him certified for a while, just in case . ”

The storekeeper broke off the conversation as a customer came in. He served the “local” and then resumed his seat behind the wooden counter.

“Funny thing was though, when they let him out they gave him a certificate of sanity..ha! Ha!  he got the last laugh on all those blokes at the pub when he come back.

I can see it now..it was a warm evening, around dark when this side of the street is in shadow and the kiosk over there gets the last bit of sunlight so that it and the house next door glows a sort of pink…’long with the road. Well the chaps are sittin’ and standin’ along the verandah havin’ a beer an’ along comes Willy, still with his dress on, mind and the chaps give him a few snickering jibes and giggles, you know. Well, Willy doesn’t show them his arse no more, he just digs into his bodice an pulls out a large piece of paper like this..unfolds it and says to the assembly:   

“So you think I’m crazy eh? Well this piece of paper from them doctors at the hospital declares me sane and I’m the only person in this whole town ‘as got a certificate that says he’s sane..so what does that make you lot?!! ha! ha! ha! ” and away he runs laughin’ his head off and them all swearing at him and chuckin’ stones after him what a sight never forget that,” and Hans Bulmer gave a rumbling laugh.

“But then we’ve had sad cases too.” Here the store-keeper thought for a moment..

“Janet Green for instance, but that wasn’t any fault of hers, it’s hard enough as it is to keep yourself together out in the bush without the bad luck as some people have. Some people curse drink for ruining people, but I tell you; if it wasn’t for the country pub in these Mallee towns, a lot of those hard working farmers would’ve ended up in the funny-farm long ago.”

“Drinkers and dreamers they used to say the mallee was made up of. Well, I reckon drink can drown a man’s sorrows better than any teapot, and dreams well, dreams are the carriages of new ideas..”

“But I was tellin’ you about Janet Green..old Mrs Green now. But she was young then. My father ran this store then and I was twelve and helped him out here. Janet had only been married early that year, ’bout lambing season, autumn, and she had a kiddie in December..they didn’t muck around in those days… I’m going back sixty year or so, gives my age away eh!  a little boy it was and oh she was struck on that child. Happy as a lark she was, showing it off to everyone that first month or so. But then after that first flush of newness she sort of got a bit worried about something with the child. I remember she was in here one day and she says to my Dad: “Kurt?” (that was my Dad’s name) “Kurt, don’t you think his colour is a bit off?”

“Oh I don’t know Janet, what do I know about babies, I haven’t grown up myself yet!”

“Well,  I feel he’s not that well…I feel it,” she spoke tensely.

“Take him to the doctor then.” My Dad said.

“Oh I did..he said the baby was perfectly well and I was just upsetting myself for nothing.”

“Well there you go then.” My father encouraged.

“Yes,” she looked uncertain “but something’s not right..his colour..”

Well she bothered that doctor again and again over the next couple of weeks till he sent her off to the hospital who sent her back to the doctor who sent her home and that little boy died at six months and she was so struck on the child.”

The storekeeper wiped his hands up and down the thighs of his trousers as he sat on the stool. He seemed to be thinking.

“People thought it strange she showed so little emotion at the funeral.. shock, they said, shock, she’ll get over it. I dunno how it went at home but her husband wore a lot of it for a while I reckon, he looked terrible. He’d come in here and Dad would ask “How’s it going Ted?” an’ Ted would nod his head on and on and sigh and say “alright I guess, but Janet doesn’t even talk about it.”

And she didn’t talk about that little boy to anyone in town, wouldn’t say a word..till one day about six months or so after the death, she’s in here an’ the old man asks her how’s it going and she looks all perky and bright and has this little smile on her face and says:

“Guess what, Kurt?”

“What?” says the old man while he’s packin’ the groceries into a box.

“I’m expecting.” She blushes and smiles that little smile.

 “Well that’s grand!” Says the old man and he slaps her on the back gentle like and gives her encouragement like on the turn around in events and that’s that…Till we find out it’s all a tale she’s invented in her head..the shock people said…the shock…and she’d get around town telling everyone she was expecting a little baby boy in the summer and she’d pat her swelling tummy only it was a pillow she’d put under her dress and she’d smile and say she was expecting a baby boy in the summer.”

The storekeeper sighed and shook his head.

“I take me hat off to some people, the way they carry hurt around with them. Some can shake it off quicker than others, though it doesn’t hurt any less, but others stretch that hurt out over months, years till it becomes almost a habit…I don’t know where some people get the strength.” He sighed and rubbed his thighs again.

“Well she got about like that for months so that we all got used to her and just used to humour her along in sympathy, it’d been a real shock to her and we could sympathise…all we could do really, I ‘spose…

Anyway we were in here one day and Janet Green was shopping down the aisle there with her pillow under her dress and her green string bag on her arm. I was stacking the shelves just over there an’ my old man was at the counter serving Mrs Turner who’d not long before had a baby herself. She and the old man were laughing and chaffing each other and she had her back to the store while she rocked the pram to and fro with the baby inside and a bundle of fresh nappies folded at the end of the pram. She and the old man were giggling over something when Janet Green comes out of the aisle between the rows of shelves and spots the pram and she stops and stares an’ a puzzled look came over her face, I could see it all as I was just there, but I don’t think she even saw me. I don’t think she saw anyone in the entire store. She stopped and looked with that green string bag hangin’ from her arm and she went slowly to the pram so I thought she was going to touch the baby, instead she slowly, gently picked up one of those folded nappies, puzzled like, she gazes at it and then raised it slowly up to her face with her hand and then with both hands like this she caressed her cheek with it, just rubbed it over her cheek like this as though she was in a trance..well the old man happened to look over his shoulder sort of and stopped talking suddenly and then after a sec’ just touched Mrs Turner gently on the shoulder to get her attention and not to alarm her at the same time an’ Mrs Turner looked around slowly and the old man stared and Janet Green was there with her eyes closed an’ that fresh soft nappy pressed against her cheek and then a big tear slowly crept out of her shut eyes and then another till she seemed to go weak all over an’ started to shake in the shoulders like people do when they cry but she wasn’t crying out loud, just shaking in the shoulders so the old man comes quickly around the counter without a word and just took her in his arms and she just sort of broke down in great big breathless heaving sobs, her mouth agape but not a sound, just a sort of gasping for breath and she held her arms around Dad with her fists clenching and unclenching behind his back and her head on his shoulder and she just kept on saying over and over..”Kurt…oh Kurt…oh Kurt.” like she was trying to tell how much it hurt and the old man was saying “It’s alright Janet, it’s alright now.” and I was behind the old man and I watched as a big tear rolled down her cheek and dropped onto his shoulder and ran down the back of his vest and then stopped and stayed there and glowed like a little shining jewel in the middle of his back. 

“Well, that was sixty year ago now and she had a couple of kids after that and lived to regret it like the rest of us I ‘spose eh! But she was crook for a while there but she came good again.”

Hans Bulmer stood up and strolled over to the window looking out at the sky.

“Looks as if the weather is going to close back in, we might be in for another wet night.”

Outside, the big wooly clouds gradually closed over and shut out the afternoon sun. The storekeeper shot a glance over his shoulder.

“Didja fix that leak they had in the kitchen roof?” he asked.

Sweet Innocence.

Image result for Pic of a cluster of Nuns.

I am going to tell you a story that happened back in the late fifties (last century!) as told to me by an aged Nun, who had some connection to the incident. While the story I tell, dramatized as it is, is a true story, the ending as I portray it, is , unfortunately a different one than the reality…but let us not lower our expectations, but aspire, like the ‘Sister Cecilia’ toward higher goals.

Sweet Innocence:

The knock was gentle and unobtrusive, indeed it had to be repeated before Mother Superior was taken from her reverie gaze out of the window over onto the cool spread of lawn out the back of the building. She turned to glance over her shoulder.

“Come in,” she called. A diminutive nun entered, aged around sixty years, her white hair shining against her white scrubbed face. Her cheeks glowed with two cheery pink blushes.

“Ah!. .. Charity,” the little nun greeted “A pleasant morning isn’t it?”

“Yes Sister…thanks be to the lord Jesus Christ in all his benevolent mercy,” Mother Superior answered in reply.

“Yes…yes…to be sure….Well now, Charity…you sent for me?”

“Yes…It’s about the choir.”

“Ah!” The little nun brightened up, for the school choir was her “special baby,” her pride and joy, and it would be said that several girls from her tutorage had risen to sing in the state orchestra! Proud, she was of her “little choir,” her “little nightingales.”

“Yes Sister Cecilia, the choir.” Mother Superior addressed the little nun with her formal title and this warned her of an imminent lecture or something. The little nun clasped her hands together as she always did when concentrating. Mother Superior turned from the window and sat briskly down at her desk. The little nun stood on the other side, waiting. “Now, Father Collins and I sat and listened to the choir last Sunday at the morning service…”

“Oh Charit…Mother Superior , weren’t they just divine, the sweet innocents, I do believe they sung their little hearts out last Sunday….”

“About Caroline Halsbury…” Mother Superior interjected.

“And Caroline Halsbury…” the little nun put her fingertips to one of her cheery cheeks and rolled her eyes to the ceiling… “that girl has the voice of an angel….if ever there was soprano material…”

“Sister Cecilia!!” Mother Superior cried impatiently.

“Yes?” the little nun answered, wide eyed.

“Be so kind as to stop prattling when I am trying to tell you something….goodness knows it isn’t easy what I have to say without the running commentary…”

“Well, I do apologise, Charity, but I am rather fond of my girls,” the little nun fidgeted.

“That may be so, Sister, and both Father Collins and myself agree that they sounded beautiful….charming….” She paused and toyed with a pen on her desk. “Not withstanding all that however, we were also of an opinion that their appearance is also of the utmost importance, almost, (since they represent the college in appearance as well as voice), almost as important as their singing…which brings us to Caroline Halsbury….” She paused expectantly, the little nun looked puzzled.

“I…I don’t see the point, Mother Superior.”

“Oh Cecilia, really!” Mother Superior leapt up impatiently from the desk and rolling her hands together strode once again to the window. There was an embarrassed moment when both nuns remained silent.

“Well, really, Sister Cecilia….its…its, well, that birthmark right across her face!” she blurted out finally.

“Birthmark?” the little nun seemed fazed.

“Yes, bother it, the birthmark!…that Port-wine stain..that livid blot across the entire left side of her face…surely you’re not blind Sister?” Mother Superior turned from the window, her fists clenched in frustration so the knuckles were white, she had hoped it would go smoother than this.

“Why of course I know it’s there, it is rather unfortunate for the child, I dare say, she’ll have to live it down her whole life…”

“…She’ll have to leave the choir!”

There was a moments stunned silence in the room, a shaft of sunlight burst onto the red velvet piano chair and two yellow- tailed finches alighted friskily on a branch of flowering golden wattle outside the window and sending sprays of dew onto the lawn. The little nun stood with her mouth open, hands raised in front of her, the cheery spots now faded from her cheeks.

“Leave the choir?…but why?…just because of her birthmark?… Oh Charity, I implore you…”

“It’s very, very distracting having to sit and look upon it, Cecilia, both Father Collins and I agree on it and I might add I overheard Mrs Herreen remark the same sentiments to Mr Herreen. Its just too distracting and it upsets the….the harmonious balance between the hymns and that glow of…of…well as you said yourself…’sweet innocence.’ “.

The little nun’s temper was quickly rising and the pale blushes on her cheeks now became crimson.

“Are we then to set a precedent of judging books by their covers, Mother Superior?”

“Oh, Lord bless us Sister, the whole world judges books by their covers, and men by the cut of their clothes and girls by their good looks! The choir is a showpiece for the college and as such should be above criticism in both performance and appearance! The girls in the choir should be the pick of the school, we’ll leave Nature supply their beauty, their voice training only is in your hands, Sister…you understand?” This tirade left the little nun speechless and sad, she remained silently standing with her head bowed. “So…” continued Mother Superior after letting that sink in, “unless something can be done to hide it, she’ll… unfortunately…have to vacate her place in the choir.” Mother Superior’s voice softened a little at the last. “Will not make-up cover it?” she inquired.

“Both her mother and herself have tried, but it has to be so heavy it becomes obvious in itself,” the little nun remarked quietly, fatalistically. Mother Superior pinched her lips together in exasperation of the whole ugly incident, none the less she pressed on.

“Well… that’s how it stands then Sister, if you cannot come to a satisfactory cosmetic solution by this Sunday, I’m afraid she’ll have to resign from the choir….That will be all for now,” Mother Superior said in a stern dismissal and watched furrow-browed as the little nun left the room. Sister Cecilia left the office seething with anger.

“How cruel,” she hissed, “how thoughtless,” she cried to herself, “who were these people to see only the substance of the thing and not the spirit? Who were they to judge the body and ignore the soul? How thoughtless, how odious, how cruel!”

All week she pondered and puzzled on the problem, made all the more difficult in that Caroline Halsbury was one of the main singers in the front line of the choir. At times the little nun would, in the middle of a meal or even at an afternoon service, be seen to mumble to herself or shake her head quickly as in dismissing an option, all to the inquiring glances of those near her. She had not told Caroline Halsbury of Mother Superior’s instruction nor had she told any of the other girls in the choir. She had hoped something would come to mind that would make all the unpleasantness unnecessary. But to no avail and here it was Saturday afternoon. Again her temper flared as she sorted the hymns for the Sunday Mass.

“Bother and bother them!” she said angrily as she slapped the music sheets down on the organ. She glanced up to the altar in a blush of shame for her temper. “I’d like to show them, Lord, put them in their place, oh no, not for me, blow it, but for Caroline.” Suddenly an idea flashed through her mind like a bolt of lightning.

“Why….why of course…how very….very right.” She quickly gave a sign of the cross to the statue of Jesus up on the left side of the altar, the statue of Jesus with the striking red sash draped across his sacred heart!

The choir sang out beautifully from the first note of Mrs Gilchrist’s deft touch on the church organ at the Sunday Mass, their collective voices harmonised as sweet as a chorus of nightingales from the darkened cloistral choral stalls so that many a parishioner in the congregation sighed for the glory of those sweet voices.

“Sweet innocence,” Father Collins remarked with a nod of his head to Mother Superior. “Sister Cecilia has certainly achieved top note with those girls,” he remarked, then; “and did you have success with that little suggestion we put forward, Mother?”

“I believe so,” Mother Superior answered, “though it is rather dark  there in the choir box, but I’m certain she would not disobey my instructions and I was quite clear as to what they were, I can assure you, Father.”

“I say, Charity,” Father Collins leaned down to her ear, “it would be an extra fillip for the college if those angelic girls could be seen more clearly by the congregation while they are singing”. Mother Superior looked at him, nodded her head and smiled.

“How true, Father, and I think I can arrange that.” she motioned with her finger for a little girl to come to her. “Go quietly to that doorway over there, and you see that row of switches there next to it, yes? Then turn on the one farthest from the door….you understand?….good, now off you go,” and she edged the girl on her way. “The light for the choir stalls,” she informed Father Collins.

The young girl paused at the switches and turned a querying glance to Mother Superior. Mother Superior raised her eyebrows and gave a curt nod of her head and the young girl threw the switch. An excited but muffled cry rippled through the congregation as all glanced to the illuminated choir stalls, not the least from Mother Superior who couldn’t suppress a cry of horror, for there, singing with such sweet harmony were a dozen girls, the pride of Cornellia College, every one of them disfigured with a crimson splash of a “birthmark” covering the left side of their faces, every “birthmark” exactly like the one occurring naturally on Caroline Halsbury’s face! Sister Cecilia, who was conducting the choir with her back to the congregation, now turned and gave a nod of respect to Mother Superior and Father Collins, the same crimson mark penciled vividly over her left cheek.

La Classe Décontractée. (The Casual-Class).

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Food delivery driver.

The rising of the interconnected but dis-connected entrepreneurial internet class..:The “Gig Economy”.. No flag, no ideology, no nationality, no loyalty…..no security save capital shifting from tax haven to tax haven.

Description :

“The New Class Rising Podcast was created of today’s struggling Middle-Class. You’ve always followed life’s advice – you’ve gone to College, put in the hard work, have earned that Corporate J.O.B but now you find yourself struggling to stay afloat in this economy that is only producing a declining standard of living, year after year. Today’s Middle Class is buckling under the pressure of Student Loan Debt, Credit Card Debt, Taxes, a higher Cost of Living, Diminishing Wages and a downsized Job Market. At the same time, Government National Debt is the highest in our Country’s history, Government spending domestically and abroad is rampid, resulting in nonstop money printing – Inflation, which is a ghost tax on Middle Class income. Prices for food, energy and everyday living expenses are rising faster than ever before and America’s Middle Class family who works for a paycheck is red-lining – America’s Middle Class is being wiped out. But something extraordinary is happening! While America’s Middle Class is being destroyed – A New Class is on the Emerging! The New Class Rising podcast brings you Commentary on Internet Business and Economics and Interviews with real Internet Entrepreneurs who broke free from the normalcy paradigm and who are ‘killing it’ in their businesses. Are you ready to join the New Class?” (  New Class Rising with Hector Avellaneda.. http://www.podcasts.com/new-class-rising-with-hector-avellaneda-74 ..)

Welcome to the gig economy!

There is also rising alongside this new economic class, a new political reality..This post from Jason was in reply to my posting on Julia Gillard : “Like empty shells scattered…”

Jason wrote…:

“The end of the Keating era also doomed the likes of Gillard with Beasley becoming leader who was more of a follower and wanted to be seen as “Howard lite” than lead a party of conviction.

The unions were amalgamating larger ones eating up the smaller, union reps not knowing who exactly they represented, and it give rise to the “careerist” These people weren’t cut of the same cloth as Gillard yes like her university educated they had no appreciation about the struggle their working class parents/grandparents were/had gone through as it wasn’t happening to them.

They became staffers to sitting MP’s and Senators and later MP’s and senators themselves because the rank and file were over looked as under educated even though they knew more about the topic than those who read it in a book but they already had the ear of the factional warlord and the numbers, come any vote.

The party and beliefs were secondary to the various warlords their career depended on, look at Eddie Obied as an example

When it came down to it The ALP failed Gillard and we’ll never know how great a leader she could’ve been as Rudd offered “careerists” jobs well above their station in life because they had no sense of loyalty to anyone other than those who could further their careers that would never have happened otherwise.” (posted by Jason)

This new reality of “political expediency” reflects the undecided nature of much of today’s Right-wing politicians, swinging from one indecisive policy to another, always looking for the safe popularist branch on which to build their next tree-house. There is an infection that has spread between the Right-Wing parties, and that is the nervous uncertainty of just where capital investments and therefore jobs are heading.

Much of this has come about because of the deregulating and selling-off of government owned enterprises and utilities. These former govt’ “pools of employment” gave security of employment to many thousands of people and a guaranteed income to be pumped back into the community. It also had the added bonus of taking on many hundreds of apprentices every year and led to a training of the local population to fill the skills needs for the private sector…A sector who has pushed and demanded of their lobbying their favoured parliamentary ministers to sell off those same govt’ enterprises for minimal return to the nation and maximum profit to the private sector, whom, it must be said, let those same enterprises run down to minimum standards of both maintenance and capital investments…added to the reality of multiple sackings of previous permanent staff and the halting of new apprenticeships.

The energy sector is a good example..the communications sector another..manufacturing a third..we could go on…and on…..and on…but you already got the idea !

Now we are inundated with how to “Get Rich” in the gig-economy..Start-ups .. or : Re-packaging the Snake-oil.

It’s a nightmare of chaos, chicanery and the acceptance/embracing of the false doctrine of post-modernist capitalism intruding into civilised society.

There’s a smell of rotting fish and it’s not emanating from the Nordic States, but rather from the claims that the number of unemployed has dropped in Australia and the government has “created” hundreds of thousands of “new” jobs..But what are those “new jobs”?…are they just a newer version of casual work? Part-time or “Zero-hour” work with all the responsibility for sickness and expenses dropped back on the shoulder of the worker?..

“Although the government is celebrating meeting its target of creating one million jobs in five years, a benchmark set by the former prime minister, Tony Abbott, in September 2013, the ACTU said only 60% of Australia’s total employment is made up of “standard jobs”, leaving four million workers in what it defines as insecure work.

Insecure work is the biggest issue facing Australian workers,” McManus said.” https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/may/21/actu-report-shows-half-australian-workers-will-soon-be-casual

This new class should, by right of aspiration be the property of the right-wing side of politics, except that they are so slow, they have not yet recognised it’s potential as a political power and also , it clashes with the Right’s ideology of conservatism and managed “economic feeding” of an economy. But even worse, this “new paradigm” of what constitutes “work” and a “job” is nothing more than the old grab for cheap-labour and is cheating our children of the skilling-up and training needed for them to create a future for themselves that is both fulfilling and dignified occupations. These “gig economy” jobs are in many cases, just tin-pot bits and pieces of employment taking advantage of our young and leaving them broke, unemployed and with minimal skill-sets for re-employment.

The Left should move on this territory, like the unions, seizing the ground to regulate and guarantee a secure internet operating platform to allow safe development of those industries that flow from the new resource. A Left govt’ could protect, if it cannot slow, this new generation of “employment” and nurture the national interest of this developing class , giving reward with secure, cheap and large gigabyte access to broadband by reinstalling the “ Fibre To The Premises” policy as promised and deliberately keeping govt’ contracts to a domestic server rather than shifting contracts off-shore or bringing in 457 visa workers where a locally trained workforce would be available.

There is so much opportunity for the future, if only we had a federal government that would “think globally , act locally” to protect jobs and training for its own citizens.

The differentiation of interpretation.

Jobs and Careers: Building trades program attracts persons of color
Free Photo | Manual worker grinding metal steel objects in workshop with  tools

The model that is held up as the yard-stick of measurement for subjective argument in the written thesis, ie;  “good” argument, concise writing…evidence based claims, comes from a section of society that has been nurtured and I would say “conditioned” into accepting that a clarity of interpretation of subject matter can only really be delivered through an educated mind skilled in the art of syntax and grammatical correctness. There are at least two directions by which one can come to a conclusion about a social topic…one is from analysis and concise writing, another is from the emotive expression.

Permit me to make my case ; The Parable :

I have an older cousin who is a bricklayer named Ron. His name really is Cesarino…but that is how the anglicising of “foreign” names go…; Cesarino becomes Ron. Ron was sponsored to Australia by his uncle at the tender age of fourteen, in the early fifties, after the war…He went to school here for a year and then was put to work for his uncle as a brickies labourer…he was a big bloke..a very strong man.

He worked for many years for a Greek property developer named Spero. I too worked for Spero, though not as far back as Ron. As a matter of fact, Ron worked for him for so long he had become sort of adopted into the family circle…Ron was divorced, his child grown up so he was on his own and would be available to do little jobs at the Spero family home on  the weekends and such, so he was asked to stay for dinner some Sundays and it became a habit…so that every Sunday, for many years, he’d go to Spero’s for Sunday dinner….and he appreciated it…he had worked so long for the family business that it seemed natural…..until one day he stopped going.

I was working for Spero then and he spoke to me in a concerned way that he confessed he didn’t know why Ron stopped coming…and Ron wouldn’t say…Spero just couldn’t work it out…and I asked Ron on the job one day ; “‘Why don’t you go to Spreo’s for Sunday dinner any more?”…at first he was reluctant to tell me..but I was persistent. He leant against the wall crowbar in hand and told me.

‘You remember that job we did for Cathy Drummond over at Beulah Park?…yes, well, you remember that big cedar tree out the back she was going to get a contractor to remove?..yes, well…..a couple of months ago, we’re all there at the table having dinner..a roast..and there’s me and Spero next to me and over the table is Barbara (Spero’s wife) and Cathy….and Barbara stops in the middle of her eating and asks Cathy ; “Did you get the contractor to remove that tree, Cathy?”…to which Cathy replied ; “Oh, no!…they were much too expensive…they wanted a thousand dollars!”….there was a moments silence while they returned to their eating, then Barbara stops again looks at Cathy..with her fork with a bit of potato on it pointing at me and she says ; “Why don’t you get Ron to do the job…he’s cheap!”…[ now this is the important point…listen closely…after relating this sad little episode to me and he felt it, believe me..he was saddened ..he leant toward me and spoke in a lowered tone like he was telling a confidant]..: “You see..you are never their friend…never!…you’re always just the worker…you’re never a friend to them, just the worker.”

He didn’t say anything to them, he didn’t let them see he was hurt…he finished  his meal and then pleaded weariness and went home…But at that moment, this man with almost no schooling, no outward knowledge of the structural strata of social classes or even any nous of the perception of those with such excellent education qualifications, this man learnt and interpreted in an instant the Marxian ethos ; the positioning of himself, his fellows in trade, and all those in employment who do labour for a boss…in those words ; “…you are never THEIR friend…”  their friend….them. He did not just mean Spero and his family, he was referring to that whole class of people…a class he never before gave more than a seconds’ thought to in regards HIS position in their society. He was one of the most honest workers I have met…he would scorn shirking on the job as one would spit a bad taste out of one’s mouth!

Yet while Ron understood the situation, Spero and his wife didn’t !…They didn’t because they had been tutored ( both at expensive private schools) in a different but parallel system…THEY were not required to sympathise with Ron “the worker”…they behaved toward Ron as they would toward their other possessions. They couldn’t see any problem with their behaviour because THEY had been educated into their social position and expected someone like Ron to seek to admire and aspire UPWARD to their level of society. But Ron had NO INTEREST in becoming as one with that strata of society..he was confident and content in his own person..as are most of us. So while Ron mixed with them out of a sense of camaraderie and friendship, they saw themselves as doing him a favour……extraordinary, as in reality, it was Ron who, by his skilled labour, helped create the income and therefore their status and lifestyle they got through their speculative building.

Which brings me to that piece I sent to David Donavan ( https://freefall852.wordpress.com/2016/04/05/the-meaning-of-treason-pts-12/ )…He read it ; “…in the spirit it was intended, late at night…” He liked it and said it would be up the next day….then he got cold feet. He could see flaws..sure..there are flaws!..there are flaws in “The Sermon on the Mount” for chrissake!…but it was never meant to educate, it was meant to “connect” to that vein of truth , that nous of knowledge inside all of us. It can be difficult to deliver an emotive connection through statistics and clinical analysis….even “concise writing” can serve to make sterile an intense piece and while it may appear to halt, stumble and falter at times, all that, if written with a true hand and mind will serve as ammunition to reinforce the subject….you just have to trust to your instincts…and ” …the spirit it was intended.”

And THAT’S why I withdrew it…and will not re-present it. Because if one doesn’t feel need to give a “host’s indulgence” without an  “expectation from the guest”, then, like Spero, they will never be enlightened. Now I don’t kid myself that it is a work of great merit, but it is MY work..if there are flaws, they are MY flaws, if it is ugly, brutish and clumsy in syntax or grammar..they are my faults and I want them to stay there. Let the dice fall as they will, I understand the risk, I accept the conditions and like Ron above ; I , alongside MY writing, have shoulders broad enough to carry the presumption.   

                                                              “I come with strength of the living day,

                                                                  And with half the world behind me. ”                Henry Lawson.

If one was to ask.

Stack of books, fire, burning books stock photo

If one was to ask that age-old question that arises when a nation reaches a crossroad of a kind and there is a choice between destructive absurdity and destructive delusion..so one is compelled to ask : “How did we get here?”, then surely it would seem the logical thing to do is to consult the great tomes of history and armed with these examples, peruse the even greater tomes of philosophy to then move on to the multitude volumes of poetry and literature that ought to give reassurance that there IS a reasonably clear, reasoned and logical path to follow to lead us once again to the bright veldts of sunlit clarity of purpose and ambition for the greater majority of humanity.

“Ought to give reassurance”….those are the operative words..but are they the operative deeds?…Machiavelli writes that while there is ample evidence of historical example for us to both learn from and to utilise to improve our conditions, there seems more of a tendency to admire than to emulate wise and judicious example..it would seem that the individual’s ego of whatever age has a tendency to magnify..given the opportunity..its own sense of granduer and importance to the point of ignoring warning and excessive deeds which eventually result in total destruction of themselves and..unfortunately..any society or nation they rule over…and no measure of high education, high art in literature, visual or song has the power to halt the more egregious manners of such an individual or even such a society..

I wrote this poem that describes the futility of such great learning..such great art and placed it up on social media..as I do again now..and it was read by approximately half a dozen people..liked by two..and I am not saying it is a very good poem that deserves a greater audience on the strength of it’s artistic merit..but the topic it raises and the cynical behaviour of its characters demand at least a little bit of consideration, for going by the currect trajectory of a capitalist economy of the world now, there seems little chance of redeeming our climate from slipping away..right in front of our eyes..until the remnants of a once imaginative species will be reduced to the tribal gathering of a small cluster of ragged-tagged individuals burning the great books of humanity just to keep warm..so I conclude that it was an act of futility in recording a futile act.

A sad conclusion to such a promising start.

A cold night on the range.

Was the year after the blast that ended it all,

Not a whole room left standing..just rubble and sprawl,

And we were camp’d freezing amongst it all.

With nary a stick to burn to keep us warm,

But a box full of books packed in haste,

A box full of books found buried among waste.

So we lit a fire with those learned tomes,

Warmed our hands to the rhymes of poems,

And in jest to our plight using the fire we might

Read a line or two and laugh with vulgar delight!

“Here’s a good one”…Louise called out,

Holding the screed aloft in theatrical tout,

And with an exaggerated voice of stage,

Read those prescient words from the page;

When first the tottering house begins to sink,

Thither goes all the weight by an instinct”.

A moody silence fell from those words,

A warning wasted from a long-lost world,

The predicted path of how it all fell…

Wisdom in the silence, it’s echo did tell…

‘Twas Burton’s “Anatomy of Melancholy”,

Come to think..I recall..but whatever ‘twas,

It made good fire…a roaring good fire for us all.

Freezing our bones amid the sprawl.

The long term effects of the Drought.

Related image

One can feel the drought settling in for the summer around here in the Mallee. (NB. This article was written in the lead-up to this Summer of 2019..it’s now 2021 and even worse!) It’s dry now and as the farmers will sighingly say..: “There’s nothing in the bank..there’s nothing in the bank…” Of course, they are talking about the “bank” of residual moisture in the deeper soil…it is dry down there as it is dry on the surface, there’s nothing put away to cover the drought..there’s nothing in the bank.

And Summer has yet to start.

So we are going into this warmer season already behind the eight-ball as we say. I can see the mallee trees in this district kind of settling down for the duration of the dry..a kind of hunkering down onto the broad, ragged boles of their base trunks and holding tight to their footings against the expected winds. They will shed some foliage, lose a limb or two, but with the companion plants of saltbush and other chenopods gathered like petticoats about their roots, they will ride out this storm like they have held fast against many millennia of adversity….they will survive.

But will we?…It is alright for the home gardener to heave a sigh of relief when five millimetres of rain dapples and cools their aching flower beds…or gives welcome respite to a small patch of favourite veggies…or even tops up that two module rain-water tank next to Father’s shed down the back yard. But out here in the sticks, anything up to five millimetres is useless…it is gone by an hour later..five to ten millimetres is not much better if it is not followed up after a couple of days with equal or heavier, as the false sense of security will cause residual seeds in the soil to just germinate and then whither and die after a week from lack of following rains, thereby compounding the desperation of the situation.

But the Mallee will survive, as it has survived and thrived out here in the semi-desert regions for more millennia than can be imagined. A wonderful species that , even though reduced and harangued to a flora state of poverty by the cruel eyes and wasteful hand of past settlers, is still there, and still ready and waiting to once again march across a wide country if we give it a chance.

There is a mystery about these mallee regions, about the relationship of all the native plants and fungi that co-exist in this now parched environment. There is a close connection between the mycorrhiza fungi that lives in the soil and roots of the mallee, likewise with the many varieties of chenopod (saltbush) species that will shelter under the mallee foliage. These relationships combine to gather, hold and maintain moisture about the tree so as to form mutual habitat that benefits the flora which in turn allows fauna to live and prosper off the tree’s generous bounty.

I have made my own experiments on the whys and wherefors of the trees in this area..I have conducted unauthorised and unqualified studies on the soils and temperature relationships between the seeding and germination of the mallee tree to see why, after the abandonment of cropping on this particular property nearly seventy years ago, NOT ONE mallee tree has self-germinated outside an isolated copse on the far corner of the farm.

I found that temperature testing revealed a large variation between bare soil exposed to the full sun of the day and the cold frost of a night and soil that was covered with natural litter that now has been thoroughly removed by many years of grazing…the soil temperature variation 25mm down from morning to midday to afternoon can be as much as fifteen degrees between the two locations but 500 mm apart, creating a environment unsuited to the germination of the seeds..also, my observations have displayed a theory that with the original mallee soil, it behaved much like any forest-floor matting in that the fallen seed found its way to the rotting mat of organic matter and there in the moist warmth, it germinated and THEN sent its roots down into the earth to seek footing. So the removal by grazing of this organic litter has reduced the chances further for seed germination, while the direct sun onto the top-soil remnant kills off the mycorrhiza fungi and completes the chain of events destructive to the expansion of the mallee forest.

Also, if we look to the chenopods, we will see their “keenness” to gather about the trunk of the mallee trees like so many little-ones about the skirts of a matriarch. Which brings us to another observation of my own. These saltbushes are of a variety..some are quite leafy, while others have foliage of a “succulent” kind that can be squeezed for moisture. I had a leaking pipe in a cluster of this succulent variety…it was a small leak not on the main line, but on a “feeder-line” to a trough..so I left it for quite some time before attending to it..now, in this dry clime, as any gardener will attest to in regards to a water leak, one would expect those plants in the near vicinity of a leaking pipe should and in most cases do, benefit from the liquid largesse…not so these succulent saltbushes..or at least so very little to differentiate from their cousins some little way away…which led me to consider if certain varieties of these hardy plants gather most of their water needs NOT from the root system, but rather from the moist night air, taking the moisture in through the succulent leaves and THEN transferring it TO their roots and in consequence supplying the mallee tree with a modicum of that precious liquid as a tenant will pay rent for shelter.

Then there is the soil in the immediate vicinity of the tree canopy circumference…I have conducted a small experiment with watering-can trickling water out from the base of the tree bole to the limits of the canopy and beyond. I found that there is a non-wetting soil under the canopy that ceases as soon as one crosses the unmarked limit of the canopy circle…I suspect this is managed by the tree to stop unwanted weeds and other flora parisiting its valuable nutrients and water in its immediate vicinity..also, I have noticed that in the lead up to a projected rainfall of some substance..not a small shower..the mallee tree weeps from its canopy perimeter branches a kind of oil or sap that drops to the ground and , I believe, is the means that the tree uses to create the non-wetting situation for its own protection.

And another last thing if I may tax your patience, Those rolly-pollies one sees tumbling across open paddocks like the tumbleweeds in a B Grade western movie, that then cluster against fence lines next to a road…if you get the chance to take one of those tumbling, dry balls, and rap it onto a flat, white surface, like the bonnet of your car, then look very close to the residual left there. You will commence to notice many, many varieties of seeds and insects that are gathered up on the rolly-pollies tumbling journey over field and shrub by the hooked lugs extending from its branches and brought with the plant to jag up against trunk, bole or in the case of the roadside fence and then to deposit this bounty there where it stops to allow the transportation of flora and insect life from one place to another.. a veritable environmental factory.

All this is well and good and if let go will continue for as long as forever is measured……..but for one little thing..an oversight that may cost us humans the very Earth we live on.

A  sheep farmer will remark to you with fatalistic exasperation when they see injured or starving stock just seem to lie down and give up on life..: “Any excuse to die”… a sad admittance of the failure of husbandry skills to revive even with any amount of care, those beasts that have decided when enough is enough…We see the same with some plants in a garden  we nurture that for no particular reason we can ascertain, they just wilt and die regardless of our worrying.

Well, let me give you warning…not that any will listen to yours truly, myself having little qualification in this world to claim right to give it..AND there being so many in the “consultation world” with self-assured knowledge and more wisdom than Socrates or Christ combined so that one could rightly observe that there are those who are so smart, they even outsmart themselves!…Still..let me, as one human to another, give you warning..There is a “knowing wisdom” in the heart of this natural world unmeasurable by either test or research, that while it does not stop altogether the natural cycles of reproduction of either flora and fauna, there is a “knowing”, much like the knowledge of seasonal change inherent in the DNA of all nature, and this “knowing”, evolved over millions of years has a means of “understanding the situation” when a line of no return is crossed and..I suspect..like those stock that surrender themselves to an inevitable fate, so too will the time come when we humans force the natural world to cross that line of no return, the limit of capability for homeostasis and She too will then decide and decide with no intent of either redemption or cessation, neither pity nor interest to opt for ”any excuse to die” ..and THEN we will ALL be well – and truly – fucked!

You know it makes sense. . .

Harriet Morcombe’s Weekly budget diary.

2015 Household Budget Book - YouTube

Monday 8th.

8.am. Holiday, Queen’s birthday.

Up at 8. Fed cats and Fowls..Coffee and back to bed, up at 11.30.

Down to letter box to check mail..spotted by Mona from across the road….unfortunately…

“Harri!” she called to me…HATE that shortening of my name…hate it!

“Yes, Mona” I replied..and that’s when the complaining started..her old man of course..He’s taken up learning to play the violin in his retirement…”caterwauling” Mona calls it..and in the times when I am in the garden looking for some peace and quiet, I have to agree..wish he’d taken a shine to a church organ..oh well..perhaps it will lessen his penchant for the flagons of sweet sherry.

Never hear; “God Save the Queen” over the radio any more on her birthday?

Back in time for lunch.

Nathan up, on computer.

Made hot sandwiches for both of us.

Back to bed to 3.30.

Fed cats and put out enough for 2 days. Fowls enough for 3 days as tomorrow Joe is taking me to Pt Julia to do some work on the cottage.

Tv. At 5. to 5.30.

Cooked dinner. Tv. To 8.30.

Washed dishes. Bed.

Budget: In.                                            $   –   c.                                           Out. $   –  c.

From; Cw Bank, Colonades. –        450   –  00               Grocer – Pine Pt…   23 – 00                               

Food, etc..                                         138   –  95                Paper – cake etc..   13 – 00   ( Pt Vincent ).                             

                                        Bal’              311  –  05                Pasties – Drinks..    12 – 75  ( Pt Wakefield).

Accounts                                               59 –  60                Fish and Chips….      13 – 00  (Pt Vincent).        

                                                             251 –  45                Coles ; shopping..     77 – 20  ( Colonades ).

Others                                                 201 – 75                                   Total     $138- 95.

                                        Bal’               $49 –  10.

Tues. 9th.

Joe and I to Pt Julia.

I have to take the 7.43 train from Marino Rocks to Adelaide. Then the 8.40 Gawler train to Gawler Centre. Met Joe there..The day is cold.

We drive to Pt Wakefield & had pasty each & I had a small bottle of drink. Then on to Ardrossan.

At the hardware store we bought tin of paint for bathroom & R-p7 for taps, they were tight last trip over. Then to Pine Point for groceries & to Pt Julia. Unloaded & cup of coffee..cottage feels welcoming.

Joe to work on roof to put collar around chimley & to cut back branches of gum tree the neighbour did not like..he now wants another tree cut down??…..Joe and he “have words”…

I rub down bathroom walls, move everything out and began painting as high as I could. Joe came in and used some very bad language about the neighbour..I told him to shoosh that kind of talk…but like he’d listen to me at his age…But he is a good lad..at least HE takes me here for a bit of a break..not like my older sons..never see them save they want something..A son’s a son etc, as the saying goes..though my daughter looks after me at home..can’t complain.

At 3. We changed and drove down to Pt Vincent. Joe wants a part for a tap, but could not get it.

We had fish & chips which we took back to cottage..Man at fish shop laments lack of customers..says, ”You got to have houses BOTH sides of the street to make money in this game”.. his shop is on the foreshore.

Joe lit the fire. He had brought wood from his home in Sedan.

We stayed by fire and watched tv. till bedtime..must say the reception here is better than at home..programs just as bad though.

Wed. 10th.

Up just on 8. Very nice day.

We have cooked breakfast..bacon & eggs..coffee. Then started on painting. Joe up high and ceiling.

Took time out for walk to the jetty. Sea is calm and the cliffs are wonderful…mallee is beautiful here by the sea..Life seems so calm and peaceful.

We then tidied up at 12.30. I washed dishes, Joe swept floor. Packed up and left at 1.15. a lovely stay. Cannot help but think back on when we, as a family had so very, very little..Mum and dad brought us up in bag-tents along The River in the depression..I remember coating the children’s school sandshoes with whiting so as to hand them down to the younger ones..and the patched pants..now we have a cottage over on the coast…V. lucky….( thank you, God ).

Did not stop on way back as we had to make it to Gawler for the 3.17 afternoon train to Adelaide..or wait two hours for the next.

Just made it to the station in time. Joe had to run to flag the train down for me..touch and go for a moment..good job Joe is fast on his feet.

After an hour I arrived in Adelaide Station. Took the 4.24 Brighton train. At Brighton I had to wait 7 minutes for Noarlunga train. Home at 5.15.. very tired.

Had a slice of toast, then to bed.

Up at 9pm. For aspirin then back to bed.

Accounts.                                 $  –  c.

Brighton – Sunday Mail…     24 – 60

Cranio-Facial Aust’ ……         29  – 50

Stamps….                                   5 –  50 

                                Total…    $59 – 60

Thurs’ 11th.

Up at 6. But Nathan not working today.

Back to bed with coffee. Up at 7.30. Fed cats, made porridge, fed fowls. N. to airport to pick up Ben.

I took the 9.53 train to Noarlunga Centre. Sat next to Mrs. Clarke. Her husband is obsessed with his sailing-boat he has in the garage downstairs..Muriel complained that he spends more time with IT than her..”Get yourself a hobby” he said, so Muriel said she DID..”His name is Brian”.

To C-W bank. To P.O. to send $25-00 to Cranio-Facial Aust’, wouldn’t begrudge THAT charity..give more if I could afford it..so sorry for the poor children. Buy a book of stamps.

To chemist to buy train tickets. Shopping at Coles. Bought whole chicken on way out.

Train home..N&B on computer. They stopped for lunch. The chicken and bread.

I went for a rest. Up at 3.30 fed cats.

Tv. Till 5.30. N & B & I finished the chicken. Computer  for ‘them’. Ben off to bed soon. Tv. For me until 8.

Washed dishes. Bed.

Ben back from eastern states, stayed the night..Said he enjoyed himself, though didn’t talk about it. Ben’s a quiet one. Nathan to drive him back to Ben’s mothers at Crafers tomorrow.

Friday 12th.

Nathan to work.

Up at 5.30am. Made small lunch for N. as he is only working half-day on Fridays.

Cooked him breakfast & he left. Coffee for me & back to bed.

Up at 8. Ben up, he said he had slept for 15 hours, made coffee for himself then to computer.

I dusted and polished my bedroom furniture..gave special clean to my old writing bureau..haven’t written now for years…don’t know why I keep it..sentimental..strange how much I wanted to become a writer, now can’t even think of a story..the end of stories for me I guess.

Checked letters etc. and threw out those not wanted..Mother was a prolific writer of letters..could be cruel though, wrote on Rosemary’s letter when she gave it me ; “read then burn!”..What was it Father said..oh yes..” Irish women make good mothers but terrible wives”. Will keep hers, children may find them of interest in their later years.. those early days in the mallee..the depression.

Ben cooked himself some lunch. I had lunch. Rest.

Up at 3. Fed cats.

Down garden, weeding. Grass to fowls.

Tv. at 4.25 to 5.30. Nathan home.

Cooked dinner.

Tv. to 8.30.

Washed dishes. Bed.

Nathan drove Ben up to Crafers.

He stayed at Crafers till Sunday evening. Enjoyed the break from them..Not too long though I hope. Old age is a lonely age.

Saturday 13th.

Up at 7.30 fed cats. Fed fowls.

Checked garden. Ducked behind oyster plant when I saw Mona looking over to my place. Escape?..could hear “violin”. Porridge.

Washed clothes, then bathroom and toilet floors. Made lunch. Rest.

Up at 3.30 fed cat.

Tv. at 4.45 to 5.30.

Cooked dinner.

Tv. to 8.30.

Washed dishes. Bed.

Others-                                $  –  c.

Next weeks money…        50 – 00.

Bus trip…                            60 – 00

Bus club membership..   10 – 00

Tickets…                             21 – 30

Ardrossan Hdw/paint..    57 – 45

Petrol etc ..                        50 – 00

Church plate..                     3 – 00

                         Total…     201 – 75

Sunday 14th

Up at 7.30. Fed cats and fowls. Coffee.

Pulled up some grass for fowls. Porridge. 

Took the 9.30 train to Brighton for church..Met Mrs Aloia, she complained about her feet, shoes too tight but she wears one size too small..e’ fashionista she says..”poor me, poor me” she says. Train 10.56 home Had lunch, usual chicken noodles.

I had a rest.

Up at 3.30. Fed cats. Cooked dinner.

Phone call from eldest..asked if he could borrow money for tyres…(again)..of course I could..though it is a pity his non-working wife couldn’t hold up on her smoking at $75.00 a week (he says) so they could afford some things themselves…didn’t say though..have him in tears again.

Checked budget books etc.

Tv. at 5.30 to 9…..So tired.

Washed dishes. Bed.

“The House”.

Image result for Old style accountancy offices pics.

Anyone familiar with that 1998 film.: “The Truman Show” will not be too amazed at what I am about to reveal. I will warm those unfamiliar with the aforementioned film up a tad and bring them up to speed on my revelation.

“ He doesn’t know it, but everything in Truman Burbank’s (Jim Carrey) life is part of a massive TV set. Executive producer Christof (Ed Harris) orchestrates “The Truman Show,” a live broadcast of Truman’s every move captured by hidden cameras. Cristof tries to control Truman’s mind, even removing his true love, Sylvia (Natascha McElhone), from the show and replacing her with Meryl (Laura Linney). As Truman gradually discovers the truth, however, he must decide whether to act on it.”  (Wikipedia: The Truman Show).

Of course, that was just a film…and with The House, being of course a reference to The Houses of Parliament, we are dealing with a different kettle of fish…these “fish” in the Parliament operate into and out of our everyday lives, making laws and decisions that affect our well-being and survival….and that being so, have you ever wondered, as I have why some obvious mis-demeanours and obvious fraudulent criminal activities by the members of The House are seldom punished or just receive a “slap on the wrist” misdemeanour warning at worst and THEN proceed to be voted back into The House at the next election with an increased majority!

Well, thanks to a close acquaintance with an accountant from an old family business of accountants, I have recently been informed that there is some rather strange goings on involving the major parties and the running of our Parliament.

It all started before a Federal election some years ago with this accountant being given the task of sorting out and separating the investments and incoming moneys and arranging the accounts of a sitting member of Parliament so as to make his position legally accommodating to the rules and requirements for sitting members of The House.

Of course, coming from an old and trusted establishment of solicitors and accountants, the accountant was given complete access to the Members financial details..but the thing that had changed from the old days of written ledgers and account books, was the access to the internet and the capability to cross-check and deep-delve into domestic and overseas accounts..to “follow the money” so to speak..and the accountant in question, being the youngest member of that “old Family”, was super-savvy at digging and delving into domestic and…most particularly..overseas accounts…as a matter of fact, he delighted in noseying in and out of tax-havens to see just who was here or there and where the money went in such cases…he sometimes would, on a “quiet day” peruse a client’s accounts as an amusement..chasing their connections to this or that company or corporation through a labyrinth of data and discombobulation.

It was on a meander through the incoming moneys of the contracting Member of The House, that the accountant stumbled upon a most intriguing list..a list of sources of incoming payments into various accounts held by the Member of The House…it all seemed innocence enough until it came to the Parliamentary salary he received…for there, entered against the regular amount was a name of a corporation familiar to the young accountant of a Company registered in the Seychelle Islands as a tax haven foundation.

At first, thinking that it was just a diversion of funds through another established account, he dug deeper into the source of the Seychelles deposit amount and found that it had come from another tax-haven account registered to a different corporation in another area of the world. This threw some suspicious doubt upon the legitimacy of the moneys and he decided he would consult with the head clerk of accounts,  one : Ambrose Symonds and see if he could enlighten the situation…but even there, he met with cautious advice…

“I would suggest you leave off with the delving INTO sources and concentrate more on the shelving OF such accounts…” and Ambrose adjusted his spectacles on his nose whilst looking down at the young man with a most imposing stare.

Of course, this was grist for the young investigator’s mill and he made it his “outside work hours” hobby to pursue the matter further..and this is where I came in.

The young accountant..we’ll call him “Dexter” for convenience..and I played tennis in the same competition…in the same club and occasionally teamed up as a unbeatable doubles combination!..After the day’s competition, the common practice was to adjourn to the clubrooms for libations and chatter…This day, Dexter was a bit more subdued…it took several mixed drinks to ease the reason out of him..and I could feel it was a weight lifted to share his doubts.

He told me the above mentioned details about the separation of accounts and the restructuring of the members stocks, shares and holdings…a moment of absolute, crushing boredom to one of the physical work-world like myself..and then he paused, gazed about suspiciously and lowering his eyes and his voice spoke in a conspiratory tone..

“The thing that threw me” Dexter leaned into me “was that when I checked the salary accounts of several other parliament members we have on our books, they were also paid from the same account.”

“Well, perhaps the party has a deal with that company to take the moneys from the Parliamentary salaries office or wherever they are paid from and distribute it via that account accordingly”….I casually remarked..

Dexter again looked about in a suspicious manner and replied..:

“The accounts we hold are from different political parties…BOTH major parties!”..he almost hissed.

“Hang on,” I said..trying to get a hold on the situation..”You’re telling me that those members salaries of the major parties are paid into the one account in this tax-haven and the moneys then go from there to your clients?”

“YES!” Dexter made a grimaced face.

“Well..I don’t know..perhaps they ALL have a deal with this company because they offer the best options…I don’t know..a bit above my pay-level I’m afraid..” and I gave a chuckle.

“Yes..that would be all well and good, except I did some more digging…I have contacts through the company with a level of accountants in Treasury and while I did not speak or inquire directly about the said accounts, I could circumnavigate around the issue to find out some more information of direct payments to certain “efficiencies”….that’s what they call them..”efficiencies”..and it has led me to a conclusion that even YOU would find extreme and outlandish!”

“Shoot…” I said….Dexter winced at my slang term.

“Well, to cut a long story-trail of “following the money” short, what if I told you that there really isn’t any such a thing as a political party in this “government”…” Dexter framed his last word with fingers making inverted commas…..I stared at him with a smile for a moment then laughed softly..

‘You’re joking….aren’t you?…..you’re having me on…” and I laughed a bit louder…”C’mon, Dexter..we’ve only had a couple of drinks…you losing it this early?”…

“I wish I was…” Dexter swilled the drink in the glass “Perhaps I am losing it…but it gets worse..”….and here his face went a tad paler and he really did lean into me to whisper…

“What if I told you that there really isn’t even a Parliament…well not in the sense we understand it…oh it is there in front of our eyes on the Floor of The House, for sure…they go about their business, passing bills and laws etc..and perhaps the greater majority of those members are unaware of what or who they are really serving as they do go about their working lives…”…and he downed the remainder of his drink.

“Hang on..hang on..” I paused him..” so you’re saying that you have found a link between the moneys that are paid these members of The House from Treasury to some…some vague entity slash corporation that pays..or perhaps HIRES these members…..UNKNOWN TO EVEN THEMSELVES….who go to work every day in an “constructed establishment” we know as the “Houses of Parliament?”…I sat back in my chair and blinked.

“Yes…I am saying exactly that!..” Dexter continued..” and this is what I have surmised from the results of my digging far and wide..from this country to the other side of the world…thanks to the internet and my hacking skills..I will tell you this..:” and Dexter started to count off on his fingers the points he made…

“One.. While the government bureaucracy exists and does its various tasks, the paying out of the Members of The House salaries in total does not go into those individual members personal accounts before passing through a complex filter of overseas corporate accounts and various tax-haven accounts.

Two.. These corporate accounts then distribute the monies into their allocated parts into the private member’s bank accounts without them being aware of exactly where from or who is paying them.

Three.. The major parties moneys paid from treasury are held in the one corporate entity in an account in the Seychelles in a company name of SD&E Corporation…a shortening of “Social Distribution and Equity Corporation”.

Four.. These same major parties are held as ownership trade-marks by that corporation and the rights to operate under those trademarks are restricted to various franchises…call them factions…operating within the party.

Five.. The performances we see in The House are an orchestration derived from the confected conflicts of various opposing agenda “written” into a kind of script of which the outcome is already settled, to give credence to the farce that we call a Two Party Democratic System of Governance.”

And Dexter finished with a large inhale and exhale of breath like it was a throwing off of a great weight from his shoulders. I have to admit that I just sat there open mouthed at the audacity of even the notion of such a vast and complex operation…after a long silence I finally had my mind around the notion to speak.

‘So…there are no major political parties…just some kind of franchisees…and the members of those parties are just patsies going to work not knowing that they are doing the work of a corporation and not their nation…and then in effect, there really isn’t any REAL Parliament, just a …..a…performance..like on a stage and everyone there are players in a super script…a theatrical illusion?”…I finished.

“To which  I assert that “The Crown”, has outsourced the Australian Parliament to an overseas corporation-slash-corporations..” Dexter added.

“Yes, but at each new government those elected members are …. “

“Are sworn in by the Governor General…the CEO of ‘Australia Inc.’ ”…Dexter finished my sentence.

He then continued…:

“Have you not wondered why there can be so much outrage at certain decisions made in The House, and nothing can change or will change it?…How some members seem to hold an invulnerable position in their electorate and can do almost as they please…; act immorally, steal land, funds and collude to corrupt laws and bills yet have no charges laid against them?…How the main-stream media SEEM to “expose” so many outrages that then come to nothing?…that’s because it is all NOTHING!…things seem to be happening in this or that location…but where exactly are these places..do you know where they are…I don’t know anybody from some of these places they talk about on the news..I suspect only a handful of real people DO!..and then they are “nobodys” that no-one takes any notice of after an initial “expose” of a kind..and then it all settles down to “business as usual”…elections are run, polls are constructed, bookies consulted and votes counted…but when has there ever been an unsurprising outcome or a surprising one at that, that has been put under a microscope to see just how or why it happened?…..never…life just goes on…because we ALL are now so disconnected from each other, from the world around us, our “friendships” little more than temporary acquaintances that we meet on the internet…so that we hardly know even our closest friends… many of us are little more than some “Gravitar” on a social media feed“

THAT was the gist of my conversation with Dexter that afternoon in the clubrooms of the “Barossa Valley Tennis and Netball Club”…and it ended about that moment as we were then joined by the club secretary very curious why our heads were so close together in deep conspiracy….we laughed at the idea…

It was the next Thursday that I rang Dexter to confirm our partnership for the weekend tennis…his phone was answered by a sparkling young lass, who had to disappoint me in regards to Dexter and the tennis because he had left earlier Monday that week to go for a holiday to Argentina with his girlfriend….

‘Oh…right..” I replied to the lass..”Oh well, it’s back to playing singles for me then…another losing weekend, eh?”..and we laughed at my self-disparaging humour…but you see..I know for a fact that Dexter is still “in the closet” with his sexuality and his family and he has no “girlfriend”.

Mattheus’ Speech.

History of the Draft Horse: The Muscle-Men of the Horse World | Horse  Journals

The end of harvest in the days of horse agriculture marked a moment for both rejoicing and contemplation…in his speech, Matheus the farmer gives thanks and gives notice of the end of an era.

Mattheus rapped the wooden serving-spoon from the plate of vegetables onto his plate…

Mattheus’s speech..:

“My usual position when at this point of the evening, at this “end of harvest night”, is to be standing here at the head of the table, cup of good cheer in hand, giving a thank-you speech and congratulating us all on a job well done…but tonight, I will remain seated..not out of a sense of indolence nor disrespect…for I doubt there is a person in this room does not know of my nature by now..But tonight I remain seated so as to talk to you on the same level…no longer as “Th’ Boss”…nor now as head of the work-team, for tonight I hand the reins…if only figuratively..over to my sons ; Peter and Christian..for it is they who will now take the family farm onto the next chapter of its evolution with the full blessing of myself and Magdalena..and it is that evolution that will change the entire work practices..as we have talked of these last several years..from the old one of horse and harness to the new of tractor and steel couplings…Myself, having reached both God’s and Nature’s allotted time of years allowed a man..; “Three-score and Ten”..I am like the proverbial old dog and new tricks…I cannot change and I have no right to stand in stand in its way.

But tonight, I want to talk about another thing and I hope give both my sons, their wives and children..our grandchildren..both warning of consequence and also to top up the cup of cheer with the measure of hope.…

Nature has lent its hand to us…she has given us soil…water…and sustenance…From time immemorial we have harnessed her beasts for the field..with the strength of these fellow toilers, these mute companions of our labours, we have turned the soil, harrowed the Earth and seeded our crops…from the time when my father and mother first set foot on this strange country and drew our section of land and marked the dimensions of their home on the soil, to now when their children sup at the table of their dreams and promise, it has all been done with eyes firm set on that measure of a man’s worth..the measure of a woman’s worth..on the measure of home and family..on a measure of hope..My parents, our forebears built an empire out here upon a new country..not an empire of imperial conquest, nor an empire of expansive proportions, but rather an empire of hope and dreams for their family..their backs bent to the chores of that ambition, without doubt, without fail and with high faith in their mission to succeed…indeed, succeed they must or perish in the trying.

The greatest treasures of a parent is their children..it is the children who will carry the future to further horizons that can be dreamed of by a parent and it is the safety of those children that exercises the most concern for the parent..What measure of gold is the equal to the harvest of seed that gives new life in every season to a garden? What reward of contentment can equal that of a full stomach, a clear mind and the love in one’s heart for what greets them on the start of a full day of productive and rewarding toil?…Why would a man get out of bed if not to fulfill the promise and reap the bounty of a life of hope…that measure of hope that is the right of every person born under Nature’s sky and God’s heaven?

When I gazed tonight upon the healthy meal that my loving wife, Magdalena, set before me, I saw the fair measure of meat…of potatoes..of pumpkin grown so prolifically over the old composting stable heaps..it’s tendrils seeking distant promise like an arm reaching for distant fruits..a wonderful meal..and all in good measure..and it is that measure that I now talk to each and every one of my children and their families to heed and be watchful that envy and greed do not cast a shadow over future ambitions.

A long life..a hard life taught our parents the creed of what is fair measure for one to aspire to..what is just reward for one’s labour..and there is no sense of satisfaction in the shirking of one’s fair share of labour..for there is a measure in nature in this world where each person is allotted a share of labour and where one person shirks their share, it falls to the shoulders of another to carry that extra load..and THAT..in anyone’s sense of justice is a failure of duty toward our brothers and sisters.

I hear talk of the new mechanics of farming having the means of “making life easier”..and I have to admit that after a bad day with horses, harness and machinery, such a phrase would even make my eyebrows lift in inquisitiveness and bring a smile of delightful possibility to my lips…”To make life easier”…now isn’t that a hope and dream to aspire to?…to make life easier…but then I have to ask..; “easier from what?”..certainly, if one was held in slavery..or imprisoned unfairly..or driven to extreme by brutal Master and Lord, one would wish for life to be easier..for those conditions are  un-natural to both nature and humanity..and I would trust to all of us here in this room..let no man proclaim ownership over another’s life, lest he too be one day given like punishment.

But no..here and now, on these paddocks..on this farm..in this part of the world, what measure of life can be claimed to be better for the making of it easier? Will the vegetables grow faster, the sheep more wool?…Will the ache of work be less assuaged with a full stein of beer at day’s end?..and what of THIS day..this end of harvest celebration..will such a thing exist once the mechanics of it takes away the camaraderie of shared, shoulder to shoulder labour?…and what of the table of food like we see here in front of us..where waste from the stables goes to the heaps of compost and thence to the garden from whence comes the vegetables to our table…where will the waste from the tractor go? Will it give nourishment to the soil or will it make waste of the soil and thence make life less easier for those who must clean up such waste?..Will there be need for such a gathering of family to give thanks for the blood, sweat and tears of a year of toil when less folk are needed for the harvest?…Will the making of life easier also mean the lessening of the rewarded pleasures for the job’s end , for is there anyone among us who does not breathe a sigh of relief at hard work’s end..but then also be content and the soul fulfilled with satisfaction of a job well done?..Does not that also feel so good?..And I wonder on the lessening of the need for hired labour to attend the many chores for maintaining the draught horses…the harness repairer, the farrier, the smithy..and if they go, what of the town band..and the church choir..and then the bakery and grocer?…and our neighbours who cannot afford to tool-up to this new mechanics..are they to become a sacrifice to a new world order of an “easier life”..

No..I cannot stand in the way of progress, but I do give notice to you, my children, that you use caution with this new method of farming..not to let it take control of you..I know you will have to go to the bank to up-grade to the tractors and new machinery it uses..be warned about the banks..they have no friend but compound interest, no mercy save the court of bankruptcy and no soul save that traded with the devil.

No..I cannot stand in the way of progress, so I will leave the farm in the steady hands of our children and wish them well while myself and Magdalena seek retirement in Tanunda and I will perfect my arm at bowls and my ear at listening to the idle chatter of the town.

So let us raise our cups to give thanks for the measure of hope that has been promised and now fulfilled…”

 The following morning, while the sun was yet low and the breezes mild in the Mallee trees, the trappings of the hut and camp were packed up, the women and children were driven back to the farmhouse in the car and Mattheus and his sons led the horses down the track in the direction toward home.

(From “Twelve Caesars” by Joe Carli.)

The Education of Young Christopher.

Writing Fiction & Nonfiction Set in the Past: What was the Life of a  Medieval Nun?

You’d be on solid ground to ask, as I have many times since myself ; what sort of adults would turn their children over to the care of a bunch of lunatics? For that is what those “inmates of Christ” were..contemplate the situation for a moment..: You have a cloister of healthy women, all who have sworn to maintain a chaste, childless life in the service of an “unknown”..You have a likewise mob of males, all once and perhaps still testosterone driven to submit their desires to the will of their God..yet..yet we know..we know only too well that under those cowls, under those habits there beat the heart and temperament of a human being, with all the wanton vices and desires of the human body.

Along with the ‘call to serve the Lord’, was a certain resentment in how they were expected to serve..how it could sometimes seem as all give and no receive on the earthly side of things..and here they were left in charge of herding and corralling all these offspring of lascivious copulation..all these screaming, demanding sprays of semen and ovulation flowing over the school-yard and into the classrooms…and here they were having to wipe the bottoms and the noses of the little grommets..all day , every day till the parents…those incorrigible sinners and fuckers, those “Sunday Saints” came to collect their moments of flailing desire and nocturnal fornications…these running, jumping, yelling , one singular spermatozoon success story amongst volumes of body-fluids and menstrual waste…But not for the holy “Sister” or “Brother” or “Father”..not for those incestuously suggestive relations of God the rhythmic caress of deep sexual contact..to see but never to touch, to feel the desire but never to consummate..nothing save furtive self-fondling in the dark silence of their cell, all resulting evidence flushed down to the septic tank or burned in the lighting-up of the morning cooking fire in the communal kitchen, a sigh of both release and simultaneous regret at both “getting away with something shameful” and in quick succession the knowledge of getting away with nothing at all., for here they still were and here they will stay..and the hunger never go away.

“Please, Jesus, please Jesus, please Jesus!..drive out this sin of lust from my body…mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa…”.

The body of Christ amen.

But He doesn’t , He never can…for how can one but believe, if one does believe, in one’s heart of hearts, that it was He; that creator , that omnipotent God , who put it there! And could the question just as easy be put; If the sin of lust could result in the creation of bastard life in the human body…what was the Sin of God that caused Him to create such bastard life in the celestial body : Earth?

Such theological questions were beyond the imagination of the small cluster of children herded to pray and genuflect before the Stations of the Cross during their weekly prayer lessons in the big church out the back of the school. Indeed, such questions were not even considered by the parents of Christopher as they signed their children over to the care and education of such a bunch of crazed lunatics that inhabited that five acres of  ecclesiastical asylum near the railway station.

The one question, the imperative  answer to which sealed the decision of a young Rosaline to marry a man twenty years older than herself, was one she put to the old German herder whilst waiting to board the station ferry to cross the Murray River. She had been “engaged” to Enrico Corridini for nearly a year , while she still worked at the big station on the Murray River..Enrico and Rosaline met every few days when he would come to the river to collect a truck-load of water for the wood-cutting camp where he worked and lived during the war years. Enrico had “popped the question” a while back and while she had cautiously consented, she had yet to make her final decision.

Rosaline Thomas grew up by the river. She worked as a house-maid at both Punyelroo and Portee stations near Swan Reach and Blanchetown. Many times she was called to accompany the lady of the house to cross the river on a flat-topped ferry, used for ferrying supplies across the river there at the station. She told of an old German hand there at Portee who, whenever he had to cross the river, would pick up a small stone, a pebble, carry it across the river and place it on the other side..Rosaline asked him why he did it…he was at first reluctant to tell her..but she persisted..

“Well, girlie..it is my own little thing…I think of the small stone as my soul,…you see, I cannot swim..and so I take the stone, carry it, and if or when I reach safely the solid ground on the other side, I leave it dzair….when I come back, I do the same”

“What would happen if the ferry starts to sink?” Rosaline asked.

“Dzen I will try to throw it with all my might, to the other side….and I think if it reaches there , then  I feel I too will reach there…”

“And if it doesn’t?”

“Dzen, I think I vill be lost in the waters of the river…”

It was the thought, the visual imagination of that thrown pebble, desperate, hopeless and valueless, falling into the waters of the river and a life lost as a consequence of that one little pebble…

What was her life to be ? Would it be lost in a desperate gamble with a married life on the edge of the river…a dirt farmer’s wife in the ‘heartbreak country’ of the mallee? Uneducated, in poverty, her family property-less and impoverished…

She was decided.

Christopher Corridini stood as instructed before the first small icon of the Stations of the Cross The pictures were at some height above his tiny frame, he craned his neck to see it. Sister Mary Joseph placed one arm around his slender child body and in a secretive whisper described the goings on in the painting..she did this to each child in turn , from one station stop to the next, with each station becoming more and more intense with the humiliation and torment of  The Christ, her voice too grew in intensity and anger..

‘Look!” she’d say, “look how they laugh and mock our Lord Jesus……..” and the children’s eyes all wide and staring at the horror of the gore and blood on the crown of thorns and the leering faces of the torturers.  The children’s hands clasping and wringing in fear and horror…several of the little girls clung to the habit of the squatting sister as she related the means of cruelty inflicted on the body of the Son of God as “He suffered for our sins here on Earth…He suffered for us..” her eyes alight also with the self-inflicted emotional pain of the scenes she described. 

The young nun then proceeded to instruct the small group of children in the ritual of the journey through The Stations of the Cross..she would say the Leaders chant :

“We adore thee O Christ, and bless thee.”

Then she would ask the children to repeat after her..:

“By your holy cross Thou has redeemed the world”.

Then she would gather the little cluster of children around her and softly tell them a little maxim of life ; “As a child, we sometimes feel alone..sometimes others do not stand up for me when I am picked on and afraid..so help me Jesus to be strong and protect me in thy light”.

The chant was repeated at every Station, along with the repeated response and then another little homily on the lessons of life through the eyes of reverence for Jesus. “ As a child, I sometimes repeat stories that are unclean and disrespectful..Help me to keep myself pure and clean…” All while standing before another frame of the torment or torture of Our Lord Jesus Christ. These lurid paintings left nothing to the imagination, from the first of the condemning to death before Pontius Pilate to the meeting of his mother and the women of Jerusalem on the road to crucifixion and the stripping away of his garments to the hammering in of the nails to his hands and feet and the sinking in of the spear into the side of his body…

These chants, prayers and visuals were displayed in graphic intensity to the ears and gaze of those five year old children, fresh from the comforts and protection of Mother , Father and the safety of home..To Christopher, they were a shocking assault on his quiet nature..He had never seen someone so deliberately hurt..He had never seen someone held down and tortured, He had never seen a person stripped, beaten, speared , gored and nailed to a wooden cross…Yet here was Sister Mary Joseph explaining it all with the soft, gentle, assured voice of a confident adult…it must be so.

But strangely, the terror didn’t bite into young Christopher. Those carefully designed pictures, those beguiling, persuasive homilies and all the Sister’s gently pitched whispers into his child ears were to be of no avail…for even as a child, Christopher was more of a “touching” child..he was more interested in the tactile nature of things..on the habit of Sister Joseph, he would touch to feel the heavy-starched white cloth parts of her cowl as she cooed , as with a lover’s breath, the corrupting words of indoctrination into his ear, wondering why it was so sharp…he would stand by her side and feel the heavy wooden beads of the Rosary belt that wrapped around her waist then dangled down the side of her habit-skirt..He would be mesmerized at the large, pendulating black cross that swung against her breast as she leant down to him. His was the world of touch, sights and sounds, the child’s world of wonder , when the wind told stories to his ears..alike to the animal kingdom.. windy days telling hurried stories of trees and hills, grasses and ferns, of white-capped ocean waves and gliding seagulls under drifts of wind-blown clouds scattered over azure skies. A child’s ears and innocence tuned to that elusive pitch and timbre that becomes dulled and destroyed by adulthood and those wailing whispers on the wind are seldom heard again.

What is lost in the eyes of the child, when such macabre icons are drawn to their gaze..The innocence that must be destroyed so guilt can be created, hatred infused before a depraved love constructed, fear before security, doubt in place of certainty, death before life. What is religion that would need to do such to a child..for it is surely children to which all it’s cunning indoctrination are delivered…as the adult convert must be a relatively low number in proportion, so it is the child that must be coaxed out of it’s dreamy cocoon into the adult world of  conditioned certainty..where “trigger words” or scenarios are imbedded into the vernacular to be drawn upon when needed by civic state or religion..for they do work fist in glove in collusion with each other..how else could it be explained or excused, for what were these series of cameos of horror and degradation but in reality a kind of ecclesiastical pornography pushed into the subliminal thoughts of the children’s minds, a “sleeper” awaiting the right moment to respond.

After the last Station was reflected upon, the last homily spoke, the last humiliation imbedded into their child minds..the children were lined up and marched back single-file to the classroom near the row of huge old pine trees..Christopher looked at the radiating branches ascending high up into the depth of the foliage..

“ Wow! what a great place for a tree-house “ he was thinking.

Danny and Moira.

Image result for Pics of golden love lockets.
Love locket.

The large, plate-glass window of the lounge area of the “River View” aged care home overlooked the willow-lined banks of the Murray River in the centre of that regional city that had been home for him and his family for these many years…known for its fruit and wine industry…Mr. Daniel Flannigan lay quiet in a parked palliative care bed placed in an advantageous position that gave him a full vista of the passing river. He lay quiet in what could be describe as a pensive mood, the latest results of his advanced condition giving little to no hope of continued life expectancy. His pensive mood was not from a state of depression, no..for at his advanced age of eighty six, he was more in a state of reflection of past events that most satisfied and pleased him in his long life.

He was thinking of Moira.

After a long marriage of sixty years and two children, Danny’s wife, Moira, passed away three years ago, leaving him lonely and listless with little will to live longer than what life ordained, so when a diagnosis of terminal cancer was pronounced upon him, he quietly greeted the news as a kind release from an empty life. Now, as the river slipped away past the window, so too did the last breaths of Danny Flannigan.

Yet, not a week ago, did he get a long visit from his son…; Sargent Tom Flannigan, resident and sole officer of the Mallee Region police patrol, that oversees an area the size of Scotland. The visit was a combination of regular “touching of home base” and an inquiry into his father’s knowledge of where he was raised as a young man back in the ‘fifties. Tom was seeking Danny’s insight into a puzzling case that had come to Sgt. Flannigan’s attention with the recent discovery of a skeleton unearthed beside a lonely stretch of road just east of the town of Sedan.

It was an interesting conversation between father and son. The father, because it touched upon his main considerations of the moment, being his reflections on his life lived with Moira Kenneally, how they met and how they married. The son, the police business of wanting to get to the bottom of this mysterious skeleton. But in reality, both father and son knew the solution to the conversation was already resolved, the only missing ingredient was the crossing of the “t’s” and the dotting of the “i’s”.

Sgt. Tom Flannigan entered the private room with Danny’s care attendant who brought in a plate of soft food for lunch..Following a minor stroke a year before, Danny had lost the dexterous use of his right hand and so it was usual for the care attendant to help him with his eating, in case of a minor “spill” with the food.

“It will be fine if I help him, nurse…” Tom quietly spoke.

The nurse looked to son then father and with a nod of approval from Danny, the nurse placed the utensil on the tray and made out of the room. Tom went behind her and softly closed the door. He then pulled up a chair next to the bed and attended to the food on the plate.

“Is the tucker good, Dad?” he asked.

“It’s alright….most days..” Danny replied cautiously “depends on the cook, which days”…he narrowed his eyes a little as he watched his son’s demeanour…there was more to this one visit than the others, he was thinking.

“Everything alright, son?” Danny asked…Tom raised one eyebrow inquisitively…he pursed his lips and blew a bit of breath.

“Phoo, yeah…..” he thought a moment..” Still can’t get Gloria to come live with me permanently…she’s not fond of the place.”

“Oh…well, that’s women for yer…if they don’t like it..that’s it…best to know in advance…otherwise could be trouble further down the line.” And Danny took a spoon full of the food.

“Yeah, well…”Tom wiped a smidgen of mashed potato from his father’s chin “ We’re both not getting any younger…an’ it would be good to settle down to a married life……” and he thought for a moment before he finished..” like you and mum”.

“Would’ve been sixty three years this month” Danny sighingly said.

“Yes…I suppose so….she was a tad older than you, wasn’t she?” and Tom looked down to something on the floor as he spoke, not that there was anything there, but so as he wouldn’t appear to be gazing too hard at his father as he asked him the question. Danny wasn’t fooled by the evasiveness.

“Whatcha want, Tom?….There’s a choke in the pipe and you’re not getting it out.”

Sgt. Tom Flannigan stroked his chin several times and decided to come to the point of his visit.

“Was called by Jack at the council office to go look at something the road crew found there at the “Seven Sisters Junction” around a month or so ago…They were widening the intersection there because of a accident between Heinie Shultz coming home after a few at the hotel and a grain truck of “Slammers” that tipped over trying to avoid hitting Heinie’s old Ford ute..There’s a bit of a blind spot..apparently and the council road crew were there widening the intersection to make it safer to see any oncoming traffic.

“And..?” Danny had stopped eating and stared at the downcast face of his son.

“And”..Tom breathed “ They unearthed a skeleton that had been buried there…sometime back in the fifties.”

“How do you know it was the fifties?” Danny asked.

“There was a wallet amongst the remains with a money order in it.” Tom now looked close to his father’s reaction….”You used to work in the post office there in Sedan back in the fifties, didn’t you?…when you were a young chap” Tom stared hard at his father’s face.

Danny did not reply, but just slowly spooned the food off the plate and silently chewed.

Tom took the moment of silence to dab again at some bit of food on his father’s cheek. Danny stared back at his son before he answered.

“Yes..I did…Friday night through to midnight Sunday..for Mrs Glastonbury..She ran the Post office and there had to be someone there twenty-four seven for the telephone exchange..She took back over midnight Sunday as it was the start of the new week.”

“And you used to sleep there under the front desk..right?” Tom casually spoke.

“That’s right…I had a pull out mattress…but I’d hardly call it “sleep”..I had to answer the telephone if a call came through..”

Tom changed the subject.

“A lot of blokes there in the harvest season in those days, I’d say.”

“Yeah..heaps…it was all labour-intensive those days…and you had to get the harvest in quick-smart in case of bad weather…or locusts.”

“Hmm..” Tom again touched up a morsel on Danny’s face “ I suppose there was a lot of drinking and celebrating going on at the hotel too in those days?”

“Too right there was…” Danny cautiously answered.

“And I shouldn’t wonder if a woman was brought in to do some singing some nights as a bit of entertainment”….Tom quietly added.

Danny paused in the lifting of a spoon full of the dinner…he replaced it on the side of the plate. A tenseness had risen between them. He then confronted his son with his own query.

“What’s this getting to, Tom?…This is about that skeleton I suppose?”

Tom shifted in his chair, the creaking of the frame and the sound of the rustling of his uniform in his movement dominating the stillness of the room. He reached into his pocket and took something small out…something the size of a bulbous button. He did not display it to his father just then.

“Yes…I’m afraid it is.”…He then leant in closer to Danny.

“You see, I was the first one there to examine the thing…The backhoe had exposed the bones and the men just downed tools and left it as it was for me to have a look at. I got there and poked about with a small rod just to see if it was an aborigine or what…and I found a bottle of cheap sweet-sherry there..along with the shoes and clothing mostly rotted away from the length of time..after all, what would it be…fifty..sixty years or so…so not much left..” and then Tom gently placed the item he had taken from his pocket right in front of Danny on the dinner tray..” . . . and then there was this ..”

The item was a locket of soft gold…it was tarnished and marked, but whole…Danny was speechless, his mouth a little bit agape as he stared and stared at the golden locket..He reached for it, but Tom placed his own hand over the locket..Danny looked to Tom and saw his meaning. He leant back onto his pillow.

“Where did you find that?” he asked. Tom moved the locket away a little closer to himself on the tray before he answered.

“In his hand.” And Tom tilted his head as in curiosity. Danny sighed and then softly laughed..

“I always wondered if it had just been lost on the road in the scuffle and some lucky person had come across it and took it away….God!..how long and how many times I looked for that treasure”.

“So I was right in my assumption then…the locket did belong to you?”

“Well, in truth..not really mine…I gave it to her.”

Tom lifted the locket and with his fingernail edged a tiny clip at the top..it opened and Tom read from an inscription there…

“To Moira from your Danny Boy”…he stared closely at his father..” that’d be you, I suppose?” he asked.

“I reckon..” Danny replied.

“Yes…” Tom left the open locket on the tray “ And I reckon if we looked closely at that lock of hair remnant there, it could be yours as well?”……Danny nodded, keeping his eyes glued to the locket…Tom shifted in his chair and brought his hands together on his legs..” You see, dad…when that locket fell out of those bones of his hand…sans chain..my experience in this game straight away told me that here was a moment of anger..an act of grabbing and ripping away of a necklace and an attack on someone…I’ve been to enough fights and fracas in front-bar and footy-club to know what this means…” Tom then lifted one hand and pointed a finger onto the inscription…” and It didn’t take me many days, what with the money order scrap and the location to run down the people around in those days…” Tom then sat back in the chair “It’s amazing the memory of those old people for those old times..clear as a bell some of them….Old Kevin Rozenswietz, f’rinstance…he remembers a young woman sang there in the hotel in those days….says he was sweet on her..as was many a young man in the town…why even…he says…yourself…” Danny remained silent throughout Tom’s soliloquy, his eyes still fixed on the locket…Tom continued..” Took him a while to remember her name….rang me just yesterday, in fact ..to tell me…” and Tom then leaned in close to whisper the name to Danny…

“Moira Kenneally”…

Danny sank back into his pillows on the bed and looked like he was going to pass away there and then…Tom sprang to his feet and called for the nurse..there followed much fussing and Tom had no further opportunity that day to follow through with his inquiry..He recovered the locket and waited for his father to recover his strength.. a few more days wouldn’t matter.

It was when Tom came at his father’s request a week later that he saw the difference in him..Danny had a more relaxed look and attitude..he looked..serene..is the word Tom would later use to describe that meeting.

The first thing Danny requested from Tom was that he let him hold the locket taken from the dead man’s hand…Tom hesitated at first then realised the absurdity of his reticence, so he held out his hand and Danny took the locket and taking from a small box at his elbow, a fine gold chain, he passed the links of the chain through the ring at the top of the locket…he then held the completed set up in front of them both.

“I had the chain all the while..I found that on the road where we struggled and I’ve had it repaired..I was always hoping against hope that I would get that locket back..and now here it is..so I can tell you the whole story of that time.” Danny held onto the locket and chain as a kind of talisman while he regaled his son with his and Moira’s story.

“It all started with my going outside for a ciggy and a break from the post office. It was a very clear night, with the only intrusion being the usual raucous from the pub over the road..The harvest was going full tilt. Then from somewhere inside the hotel, a piano started playing and the hubbub started to die down and a woman started singing….and in the now silent night air, that voice sounded to me like the voice of a free bird…her lilting and sighing a joy to my ears…

I flung the cigarette to the ground and crossed the road to look through the window..I was too young to go into the bar, besides, I couldn’t leave the exchange for long in case a call came through. Looking through the window I saw Moira for the first time..To me, her face shone even in that smokey bar-room light like the morning sun on a new day, and her raven hair shimmered and shone…her body lithe and full..she was all that my awakening young male body desired in a woman…already I was in love..

She looked a beauty then and I was to get to know her much better in the weeks to come.

The first time we spoke was through the door of the post office. It was late Saturday afternoon after closing time and she was at the front door knocking and making appealing gestures to be let in. Unknown to her, it was with a trembling hand that I opened the door to her.

“Ah!..thanking you there my good man” she gushed with a beautiful smile “ could I be troubling you to write me out a money order to send to my sister in the city this late in the day?”

“I…I’m afraid the post office is closed now..I’m sorry.” I mumbled out apologetically.

“Yes..the post office is closed, but I see you’re still here…and it would be you who could do me this favour” she smiled cheekly..

The upshot of it was that she needed to send the money to her sister as a payment for caring for Moira’s young child while she; Moira was there earning some money. A single mother could lose custody of her child in those days if the authorities deemed her not capable of “supplying for needs of the child”, and as Moira was paid on the Saturday afternoon, she wanted to get the money to her sister as soon as possible..

Of course, I wasn’t supposed to, but how could I refuse..both because of her parental situation and then because I adored her. So I sent the money..she was genuinely happy that I did her the favour and even kissed my cheek as I leant over the desk to give her the receipt..I did indeed blush deeply.

“That’s to say thanks” she smiled “It means so much to me to have that one thing out of the way…but could I ask that same favour of you every week…I’m sorry for bothering you, but I get paid every Saturday and we live so far out of town..?”

Of course, I would gladly do her the favour..any favour…but I told her to come to the back door and call in for me so no-one else would demand the same service.

“And to whom do I call?” she asked.

“Danny..” I stammered out..”me..I’m Daniel..”

“And a fine Irish name that be too.” Moira smiled again..”I’ll be asking for you then..my Danny Boy!” and again she smiled that beautiful smile.

And that’s how we got closer and more easier in our relationship over the following weeks. Moira would come into the back room and call a cooee and I would attend to her money order and sometimes she would sit and chatter while I did the paperwork..sometimes I’d get her a cup of tea or she would light up a cigarette with me just outside the back door and we talked of each other.

I remember early in this arrangement Moira suddenly asked me;

“How old are you?” I shot a quick look at her, trying to judge her motive…

“Seventeen” I replied..” And yourself..if I may ask?”

“Cheeky!..she admonished as she stubbed out her cigarette…”if you must know ; twenty one next week!” and she then slipped away with a teasing laugh..God..she was my delight at that time…my utter delight.

Through all this harvest, she and I became close pals..that’s all..just pals..as we used to say..though there is a point in the relationships between men and women where that line of friendship, once crossed into the realm of affection, can never be returned..and it can grow like a blossoming flower, slowly, yet intensly…so that you aren’t completely aware of it at all, till one day, one sudden look tips you over the line….But there was one cloud on the horizon of our friendship and that was her “man”…a brutish fellow named Bruce Dobson..an itinerant labourer that followed the seasonal harvests around the country…a man of around twenty eight or nine years old..a loner, a scrapper, rather handsome in that hard-chiselled way..not someone to cross swords with..if you get my drift. But he was a problem external to Moira and my regular Saturday meetings. He would be working or at the bar drinking when we would meet at the post office. Strange how some men hold their relationships with women more as a trophy, a possession, rather than a loved one.

“Danny!?” she’d call through the back door and I’d call her to come in. Oh how I loved hearing her call my name and how I adored saying her name in return..I recall a quiet moment having a ciggy there by the back door one evening just before she went to do her stint singing that night, she quietly said..:

“Danny…would you like me to sing a song for you?” I flicked the ash off my smoke nervously and replied;

“Oh..yes..that’d be nice…very nice..I’d like that..thank you .”

“Well I finish my stand at the piano there at eleven o’clock..if you come to the side window there by the planter-box and look in..I’ll sing you the last song.”…

I mumbled and blushed my gratitude and she touched the side of my cheek with her hand, smiled a gentle smile and walked away..I can still hold the memory of that touch..the warmth of her hand..for it was more than a casual gesture..it was the passing of an affection between us..it changed our relationship from that moment on.

The song she sung to me that night was “Danny Boy”….oh how my heart sung along with her..and every now and then she would look to me..straight to me as I stared through the smudged glass of that window and sing those most tender words to me..only to me…

“. . . But come ye back when summer’s in the meadow,
Or when the valley’s hushed and white with snow,
It’s I’ll be here in sunshine or in shadow,
Oh, Danny boy, oh Danny boy, I love you so! “

And with those last sung words, she looked straight to me…straight into my heart it seemed..oh the power a woman has to grasp and hold a man’s deepest desires, whether she is aware of it or no..it is a power so all embracing, so strong that sometimes only death can release him from her hold..And so it must be in return..with a man to a woman..I don’t know what that hold was to her from someone as meek as myself, but Moira saw a strength in me that touched and held her heart likewise..a bond supreme…and it would prove to be a bonding extreme, for it became a point that at the end of her Saturday night session, she would finish with that song and I would make it a point to be there at the window, peering in and through that smokey world, Moira would finish every time with those lovely words whilst staring right into my eyes..into my soul.

As Moira told me, her birthday was to be soon, and I knew the harvest season was coming to a close. Already some of the contractors had terminated their season in the district and moved on, so would Moira and Bruce move away, I presumed. My heart was suffering from the thought of never seeing her again, so one day that week, I grabbed a lift to the city from a local and went to a jeweller and bought a golden locket on a chain for Moira’s birthday..it took a goodly amount of my savings, but I could think of no better use for them than this gift.

That following Saturday, Moira came knocking at the back door as usual..We went through the regular business of her posting the money to her sister and then went to have our usual smoke by the back door..I had the locket and chain ready in my pocket.

“When did you say your birthday was?” I broke the ice. Moira looked slightly askance to me.

“ I didn’t…but since you ask..it was two days ago.”..she took a drag on the cigarette and then continued “ why do you ask?”

I stubbed the smoke out and reached into my pocket and removed the locket nervously..I wondered now if it was not too presumptuous on my part…perhaps the locket and chain looked too cheap..many doubts now crossed my mind.

“Because I..I brought something for you.” And I held up the locket and chain. I mumbled on nervously and quickly “ it is a special locket where…if you look here there is a tiny clip that you can unlock with your fingernail and it opens up and you can put a keepsake inside….”

Moira left the cigarette fall to the ground and turned and clasped the locket in both her hands like it was a fragile thing. Her eyes glowed with delight at the gift…she then turned her face to me and gazed with the most deep affection.

“And I had it engraved inside ..if you don’t mind…here, see?” Moira read out the words..:

“To Moira, from your Danny Boy.”

“Oh, Danny..it is so wonderful…truly beautiful..thank you.” And she then took the locket into her hands and gazed upon it..” Could you clip it on me, please?” and she held it to me. I took it and she turned around and lifted her hair so I could fix the clasp on the nape of her neck..which I did, but so slowly as I wanted to see and touch her skin there..my finger-tips absorbing the warmth of her body..I closed my eyes and took in the moment..I wanted to totally absorb the feeling of her body there..the soft touch of her hair and the colour of her skin..the tiny follicles of hair on the nape of her neck as I fixed the clasp of the chain..I was enthralled.

After I had finished, Moira turned to me..she lifted the locket to look closely at it then she suddenly let it go, threw her arms about my neck and kissed me passionately on my lips…I drew life there and then from that kiss..oh..that kiss..I held her so tight with my open hand and fingers spread so as to touch and clasp as much of her to me as possible..I had then embraced a joy complete..we kissed and kissed.

Before she left just then, she went and took a pair of scissors from the counter and coming back, she cut a tiny lock from my hair and placed it into the locket…we kissed again and she went to her work.

It was the commencement of life for both of us.

Of course, it did not take long for Bruce to notice a change of heart in Moira..for her heart was now given to another and such a shift of the soul cannot go un-noticed. Bruce’s jealous spite took command and even though she had told him that the locket was a gift from her sister, he was fouly suspicious…even more so than we had suspected, and it happened one night as I was making my way home up the “Sleeper Track Road” at the Seven Sisters Junction.

It was the Sunday night a couple of weeks after I had given Moira the locket. It was a foul night of the big storm that took down the telephone wires all around the district..so the exchange was out of action…Mrs Glastonbury came in and told me to go home as there was little chance the exchange would be up and running any time soon. I had walked almost to the junction when I saw a utility parked ahead…there were no lights on and after coming closer, I recognised it as Bruce’s ute…and he was there with Moira..I had the feeling he was waiting for me. True enough, for as I got close, he stepped out of the ute. He had a swagger in his step..I stopped..

“Took you a while to get here boy…I been wanting to have a little talk with you.” I could see that “talking” was the last thing on his mind. I paused and did not answer, not really having anything to say and I knew what his intention was.

“You been playing at sweet-talking to my girl, I believe..”

“I..we just talk of things.” I weakly said…” just things”

“Yes…I should imagine..” Bruce approached me at the back of the ute “It’s those “things” I want to talk to YOU about…..with my fists!” and he slowly stepped toward me..I stepped back from the ute…Moira had got out of the car and came around to the back of the ute..she grabbed Bruce by the shoulder and pleaded with him..

“Leave it Bruce..he’s only seventeen..he’s no equal to you in a fight..” Bruce gave a sudden reflex jerking away of his shoulder from Moira’s grip and swung his arm at her and hit her with a back-hander, yelling at her..

“Hold off woman..don’t tell me how to deal with this little shit!”

I leapt at him and connected with my fist with one blow..he spun back and grabbed me with both hands and flung me easily to the ground, Moira recovered from his blow and went for him as well..he grabbed and held her and then yelled to me while I was still prostrate on the ground..

“What the hell do you think you’re playing at..eh..eh? trying to muscle in on my life…my woman!?” he yelled..and then he saw the locket there swinging on Moira’s neck..he flung her away grabbing the locket as he did so and tearing it from her neck..he held it in his fist right in front of my face and yelled..

“You think this will make me go away?…hey?…You think this trinket will force me to say ..Oh..look..my woman’s been stolen by another..so I’ll just leave them to it..?? You think so ?..hey!..well think again!” and he grabbed me by my shirt front and struck me full in the face with the fist that held the locket and he was about to land another when suddenly there was fast moving shadow and a WHACK! and Bruce fell off to one side of the road and rolled down the edge to lay dead still on the ground. Moira stood above me holding the bladed spade that she had struck Bruce with..It happenned that fast and was without the tragic intent that resulted…but I think that’s how many of these things happen..we both were silent and the storm raged.

Upon examination, we could see that the edge of the spade blade had almost cut through Bruce’s neck and he had quickly bled out..he died quickly and we were there in the wild storm and darkness of the night in shock and with no idea of what to do. We were just a couple of young people caught up in an uncontrollable situation.

After some short while of consoling each other and attending to our own selves, we started to formulate a plan. Considering that while it was in truth self-defence, it would look awfully suspicious if it were to come to the attention of the police and Moira would for sure risk the custody of her child in the process..We were fortunate that day of the week and the violence of the night storm kept all traffic off the back roads..so we set to with a plan…it is a wonder how quick the mind focus’s on a problem when the cause demands it..everything we needed to do just fell into place in that short space of time..

“ You take the ute and go pack yours and Bruce’s things and make it look like you both have done a runner..it happens all the time with itinerants, drive to a distant city and leave the ute by a river or the sea with Bruce’s gear in it only so it will look as if he has topped himself…with all those sherry bottles it will not be hard to imagine..I’ll bury him here where he fell and look after this end of things..”

Moira was shaking and tearful, but her natural sensibility soon got control..

“Yes..yes..I will make sure of my end of things and get rid of the car..I will have to get a bus back to Adelaide and act as if Bruce threw me over for another..I can do that..” she wiped away the tears..

“Moira..” I, I held her shoulders and said regretfully..”we can do this if everything goes right..you are both temporary workers, so you will not be missed…I…I have no connection to either of you so I will not be considered..but we have to not be in contact with each other until such a time as it seems there is no chance of us being found out..we cannot see each other again for a long time…a long time….and it’s hurting me already..”

Well…we kissed and held each other and kissed again and professed our love together and swore that we would meet when the time was right. And as Moira drove away in the slanting rain of the night, I truly wondered if I would ever see her again..but there was this deed to do and I set to work with the very spade that killed Bruce, to now bury him.

As I moved to do the job, in a flash of lightning, I saw the chain of the locket on the dirt road at my feet..I picked it up, but could not see the locket itself..and though I looked desperately, I couldn’t find it and the urgency of the moment made me attend to the digging of the grave.

Fortunately, the sandy soil there allowed me to dig a deep hole in a short time and I tipped the body into it, making sure to place some heavy rocks on top of the first layer of soil to dissuade any animals from digging down to the corpse…I also took advantage of a road-kill kangaroo just down the track a ways to drag it to place it on top of the grave so as to cover any decaying smell from the buried corpse. I then made my way home in the filthy weather up the sleeper track, confident the driving rain would wash any evidence of  the night’s deeds far away…

The next few months I lived out in trepidation of suddenly being grasped by the arm by a police constable and arrested for the killing of Bruce…but no..nothing happened..not then nor ever over the next years..of course there was some grumbling in the district of Bruce and Moira doing a runner while owing a small amount of money to the local store and rent for the cottage they stayed in..but that was the only gossip that came to my ears…I was never considered connected to the couple owing to my position and age…About six months later, my family changed address over to the Bulldog Run about five miles north of the Sleeper Track, so I never went that way again…so the months and the years came and went with no longer a mention of the couple and the town went on with its life..

As did I…albeit with a melancholy sadness lodged deep in my heart. “

Danny continued…

“ It was five years to the month before I heard from her again..It was getting near to Christmas and now I was permanently employed in the post office…five days a week and Saturday morning..Mrs. Glastonbury got another lad to man the exchange over night and the weekend…It was getting near Christmas, as I said, and I was serving old Gladys Auricht in the shop …she wanted a page of stamps so as to send her regular batch of cards and she was fussing with her purse and contesting “the price of stamps nowadays”…

“I don’t make the prices, Mrs. Auricht..they’re printed on the stamp by the government..” I said.

so I was busy attending to her wants and though I heard the bell over the front door ring that told me another person had entered the shop, I only quickly glanced up to see and then went back to Galdys’s fussing…What I did see, was a head of red hair..a woman..who went to the far end of the shop there, for it was a gift shop along with the post office…so I didn’t give much thought to her. Then Gladys gathered up her stamps and purse and things and left the shop and I would have gone to attend the other customer except, as fate or chance or call it what you will, intervened and at that moment there started to play a treasured piece of music over the radio…only the music..no singing with it..an’ it was the tune of “Danny Boy”….I must’ve been tired or a tad sentimental at the time, because I forgot all about the other person there and went into a kind of daydream..and the music just played softly and seemed to caress me..like even now, sometimes over the speakers here they play “Danny Boy” and I go into a kind of dream..and then too..and it was playing through the tune till it got to that part in the singing where it goes…: “So come ye back when Summer’s in the meadow….” And I thought I was hearing things, ‘cause I thought I could hear a voice softly mouthing the words..softly singing along with the music..; “. . . or the valley’s hushed and white with snow” …and I suddenly became aware that the other person who came into the shop was singing those very words..and singing them with the same inflection of voice that I remember from so long ago..and then I saw her…I saw her…she lifted her sunglasses and I saw her eyes..and she sung those beautiful words along with the song..but oh so softly so affectionately..to me she sung…only to me as she looked into my eyes..reading me deeply…” I’ll be here….in sunshine or in shadow….” And then she almost whispered breathlessly, those last delicious, delightful words…” Oh Danny Boy…Oh Danny Boy….I love you so….”

There was a quiet in the room so solid and deep that when Danny next spoke it was almost as in a prayer..

“I can’t tell you the feelings that came over me with the seeing of Moira there…right there in front of me…and hearing her say those words to me…enough to say that we threw ourselves into each other’s arms and held and held each other like we would never let each other go again…I pushed my face into her hair just to breathe in her scent and how I wept..how I wept..how WE wept..” Danny stopped at that moment and took a deep breath before speaking again ..”. . . and that was when I saw her again…”

Tom sat through Danny’s talking, quietly and impassively…for what ever the sentiment, he had to close this episode…this file…He broke the silence..

“Well…whatever the circumstances of your relationship with this lady..this Moira, I have to find her if she’s still alive and talk to her about this death..”

“You’ll not find her this side of heaven, I’m afraid, Tom….she’s gone.”

“Oh…and you know that for sure, dad…you kept in touch?” ..Danny raised his eyebrows a little. Tom persisted…” Well, if you do know her last address, you had better tell me so I can at least go talk to her or her relatives.”

“It’s no use, Son…she changed her name by deed-poll before she came back to Sedan that day..She became a different person.”

“You seem to have a close knowledge of the situation…tell me then what she changed her name to”. Tom was getting impatient.

“She changed her name I tell you, Tom…Moira Kenneally became Mary Kennedy!” Danny burst out.

“And just where does this Mary Kenn . . . “ and that was as far as Sgt. Tom Flannigan got, because his thinking had just caught up to his demanding…Tom slumped shocked back into the chair, staring blankly…Danny continued his thoughts for him…

“Yes, Tom…she changed her name, Tom..Moira Kenneally became Mary Kennedy…..your mother, Tom..your mother!”

From that moment on nothing really mattered to Daniel Flannigan, he was comfortable where he was, the feeling was all warmth and embracing…the afternoon sun, the river silently flowing past, he clasped the locket and chain tight in his hand and for the life of him, wasn’t that music he was hearing over the speakers an old favourite…wasn’t it “Danny Boy”…yes!..that’s it…Danny Boy…and even the cries from Tom calling for a nurse to come quickly and all the scrambling around and over his person and Tom calling his name over and over..all fading away..nothing could now stop Danny from his long anticipated assignation with his only love….Moira.

The fortunate discoveries of James Soreno.

Tumbling dice.

As a person of bronchial difficulties when a young man, James discovered that if he placed his thumbs gently into the nasal cavities and flared his nostrils with this manipulation, his inhale of breathe through the nose would be enhanced..and as a bonus, the extra air rushing through would dry the nasal discharge and alleviated the continued blowing of his nose that often resulted in a soreness and reddening of his skin there…so to allow the continued…enjoyment…of this new found discovery, he would softly scrunch pieces of facial tissue paper into a blunt, conical shape and insert these into the nostrils to hold them open…the resulting appearance gave James the look..in abstract..of a dragon with flames shooting from his nose..

“I trust you are not going to go out in public looking like THAT!” his mother admonished…

Of course he never even considered such..but this was an example of the small but important discoveries that made James’s life more comfortable…for THAT was his primary objective in life..: Comfort…or rather..: The avoidance of discomfort.

“Nov course nort” James replied with a nasal blockage tang “Nyou think I worn’t to look nstupid”.

The other discovery he stumbled upon in his younger years and continued right into old age, was the practice of when removing his clothes at night, he would NOT take the garments off in a singular manner..that is; one at a time, but rather keep them coupled by removing undershirt, shirt and jumper (in winter) in one complete batch..so to speak..and shuck them over his shoulder to sit open-throated, so to speak, ready to slip on again in the same order come morning on the floor near his bed…the same for his trousers and shoes and socks…small things, yes..but things nether the less that made for more comf….no…made for less discomfort…less discomfort…there IS a difference….and again, his mother had to be made aware of his preference for this form of dressing lest she uncaringly kick the clothing into the corner of his room with a disgusted..:

“You’ve had these same clothes on for the last week…for God’s sake, they are starting to smell!”

“Only to YOU”…James would sulkingly reply “I find them just worn in to my body shape..it takes about a week to get them just right.”

Of course, these little quirks of behaviour were the ones familiar to his young years..and even if they did roll over into his older age, there were others gathered up upon the way through life that James would apply and maintain to keep the ferocious wolves of discomfort from his door.

These “discomforts” were not only restricted to physical things, like clothing or mechanical devices like the car or power tools…particularly tape-measures which would after prolonged use break down and the inner spring that retracted the tape suddenly slip within the device and not allow the tape to go back and one would be left with the full eight metres of rattling/crackling, crinkling useless measure all a-jumble in one’s arms…a most distressing situation…solved by having at least three or four tape measures available so that the one measure was not relied upon at any one time and reduce the possibility of being left with a jumbled mess and no tape-measure…or even into things concerning food, like taste or too hot, either spicily or temperature wise…he even developed a dislike in his later years for getting wet..not to the detriment of washing oneself, but in going for a swim or when the relatives came to visit from interstate and everyone wanted to go to the beach and wade in the waters of the low tide…a youth of growing up by the sea left James with an aversion for both the smell and the salty residue on skin of sea-water…but these discomforts also extended into his emotional life, those feelings of emotional discomfort when confronted with, say, sickness or the death of a friend or family member…having to attend funeral and wake and all those moments of (sometimes) false sympathy and the lauding to the heavens of someone even disliked when living…for in James’s mind, grief was like poetry…it was best internalised and experienced within one’s own body and mind…and of course, there was James’s first marriage with a wife who embraced enthusiastically..religiously..the principles of “New Age” philosophy..to the extent she became an apostle of one American guru ridiculously re-named Joice Bleeeby…the “Joice” there to rhyme both in spelling and sound with “Voice”..as in her blurb pamphlet; “The Voice of Joice!”…and the extra “e” in her surname so as to emphasise by phonetic extension the self-importance of her presence.

This worshipping of New Age practices involved the acute discomfort to James of attending workshops where it seemed the main emphasis besides the passing from person to person of a “talking-stick” of a locally gathered tree-twig with a chook-feather attached, secured with plaited wool thread to the stick..was on turning adjectives into nouns..as in adding a “ness” to the adjective..so that “Well”, became “wellness”..and “Whole”, became “wholeness”..as with the “wholeness” of the thing….It was in the rolling off the tongue action at one workshop by this Joice Bleeeby of such “ness” words that James couldn’t help but slip in his own ness-word..

“Lochness” he blurted out before he could stop himself..the fraternity of new-age disciples all turned frowning to him..”..The monster…y’know?..I..I..just thought of it..”James mumbled…but it was clear the guru thought otherwise and after the session was seen to have a quiet chat with James’s wife.

“I am not prepared to stay in a relationship with you unless you pay more attention to what Joice is telling us”..she sternly announced after the workshop……..James had to agree with her and that was the beginning of the end of THAT marriage….actually, the relationship began to slip away with the recent moving of house and family to a suburb with a lower status postcode…it being a very difficult situation to rise in social status from a lowly postcode…from, 5153 to 5251 to 5152…you can see the difference, surely?…the lower the number, the higher the status..James’s wife harboured secret aspirations for the last of those numbered postcodes, and was prepared to sacrifice almost anything regarding their relationship to gain it!

And in truth, it was that driving ambition of James’s first wife that opened up the most sublime and ingenious insight to a philosophy that would seal the direction of his destination toward an elimination of social discomfort and solve that most complex of conundrums plaguing modern life..; decisions, decisions, decisions?…which, where or what to choose?

How many times have we asked ourselves why we did a certain action, the result of which ended up detrimental to our wellbeing…no, not wellness…wellbeing..? After the building of several family homes and the trials and tribulations from a failed marriage which resulted in the loss of accrued collateral from the division of material possessions, this question vexed the mind of James for many nights. Why, he asked himself, after fulfilling the social obligations of work, marriage, children, a home built, could things from so far outside his sphere of influence and decision making bring the whole construct crashing down without so much as a squeak of support from that very society whose “rules of engagement” he obeyed to the letter?

Chance, James decided, played a more important role in the affairs of humanity then has been given credit for..as a matter of fact, he reflected, chance is a integral part of this modern social engineered society..’yers pays yer’s money and yers takes yer chances’ the modern-day catch-cry of civilised society. This momentary diversion in his thoughts brought back an incident in his younger bachelor days when he would happily place a bet on the horses. These wagers were a “penny-punter” affair as his gambling money was a quite small amount. He would ‘study the form’ on race day, a Saturday, pick his horses and go to the Totalizer Agency and place his bets then retire to the hotel to have some beers with his mates and listen to the races. These wagers were usually unsatisfactory in a winning sense and he began to wonder on the worth of studying the form of the horses…it seemed that chance, or the machinations of “fixed races” played a bigger part then the mere record of past races of any one horse..so James decided to try a different approach, partly bought on by his laziness in continuing to try to pick a specific winner and also by a simple mathematical sum…that being that in the usual fifteen horse race, there were four chances of a payout on the ticket..: First plus place, second and third…so that made the chances of getting at least ONE payout of whatever amount a roughly one in four chance if just picking a random number. But how does one pick a random number without being influenced by the opinion of the forms or the tipsters?…simple..: one takes one suite of a deck of cards..Ace to King..that makes thirteen, throw in two jokers and you got your fifteen runners..shuffle and then turn over a card and bet on the random number that turns up..three cards for winner, second and third…of course you mark the jokers for differentiation..

While this method seem absurd and quite simplistic, it worked!…James started getting extraordinary results using the method…not only winners, but daily doubles and quinellas!…even to the point where one delightful Saturday won him enough money to purchase a cheap, second-hand car that only needed a few patches of sheet-metal pop-riveted on and “bogged” to cover the rust in the door panels..and bango! Bob’s your uncle!

This good fortune continued on for a few months, albeit in a still penny-punter way till, in an attempt to try and increase his chance of winning, James started to consult once again the form of the horses whose numbers he had randomly picked with the cards and started to change bets from those he considered hopeless to others with better form…and it was this betrayal of the God of fortune that broke his run of luck and he eventually gave gambling on the horses away completely.. acknowledging with a mea-culpa admission that his greed had let him down. .but the lesson with chance was learned..: There is considerable opinion behind the thesis that there is no pattern to chance..but in James’s conclusions, he decided that the pattern of chance is identifiable in that it HAS NO PATTERN….and THAT is the secret to managing chance…ie; you take a chance on chance.

And it was this lesson with chance that James now ruminated upon in regards that bigger gamble of fortune..: Life.

“What was the point” he mused “of planning, plotting a course, making choices regarding one’s budget and work balances to only have all those best laid plans come to nought?”…and he calculated there and then that with so many millions of other people likewise scheming, planning and choosing, and in the end being manipulated by forces so far outside their sphere of control or influence, the multitude of variables that overlap, collide and determine one’s life are so legion, so multitudinous, one might as well NOT make life-changing decisions based on a false premise that we are all on a “level playing field” and in point of fact, make it a clear objective to do the opposite of – like the horse racing form – trying to pick a winner..

The conclusion James came to and which influenced ALL future decisions in his life was to not try to pre-empt an outcome, but to actually …do nothing!……just sit tight in patience, riding out the storm of chance, waiting for the dust to settle on the fracas of life around him and then to just select the best of what remained..which, as experience of the many years that had passed since he made his fortunate discovery, was the best and most beneficial decision he could have made.

So I pass this on to you with a ; Bon voyage mes amis!

The Pencil.

In all the years I worked as a sub-contractor for the Greeks, I worked on my own. I found that  it was the best way to have control of my time and workload. But every now and then, there would be a commercial building job that required another chippie to keep the schedule moving and up to date. On one of these jobs, an older carpenter was brought in to do some finishing work, while myself, being a young bloke then could do the ‘heavy lifting’…we got to chatting at smoko after a couple of days on the job. His name was Mark, an older bloke, as near to retirement as I was away from it…he’d be long gone by now so I’ll tell you what he told me.


I was not long married and we were expecting our first child, so was full of that “new parent keenness” sort of thing. I told him of our expectations.

“You got any kids?” I asked.

“Two, girls…by my second wife”. he added.

“Oh..none from your first ?” I asked.

“No…we never got around to it…only married a few years..” he spoke as he shelled a boiled egg.

‘That’s bad luck..” I offered.

“Not as bad as it would’ve been if we stuck together!…She cleared off with my work-partner.”

“Christ!…that’s a bit rich”…I said. Mark shrugged.

“A long time ago now.”

“I never had any partner.” I reflected.

“Yeah?..good idea…but we’d known each other (the partner and myself) since our apprenticeship days…and when the big building companies folded back in the seventies, we formed a partnership…first fix roofing.”

He sat back with his legs crossed and sort of stared ahead in some thought while he ate the egg. Of course, being an inquisitive chap (I love a good goss story!), I was dying to hear some more..but there are times and there are times…I knew now was not the time to pry, so I left it to the next week at  smoko. I then took up the story with him.

“ That partner you had, was he a good tradie or the bludger type….I ask, since you say he took off with your wife…I was wondering if you had to carry him on the job?”

“ No..no…he was a bloody good tradesman…knew the job inside out..much brighter than me..he used to do the quoting and setting out…that was probably my downfall.”

“How’s that?” I asked.

“Well…he would leave me with the cutting-list, say..and take off for a couple of hours to do a quote and I’d be there on the job cutting the timber and he’d come back and we’d get stuck into it….” he sat back and pondered a moment..” You know..I probably would never have found out when I did except for that one small slip with the pencil..”

“What pencil?” I was now very curious.

“These pencils..you know ; these thick carpenter’s pencils”. And he motioned to the one in the top pencil-pocket of his overalls. He took it out and turned it over to show me three little cuts near the top. ‘That’s my mark..I put it on all my tools and things..it’s a habit since my apprentice years…so you know your gear. “..Mark put the pencil back into the pocket and leant back against the wall “I shoulda’ worked it out a bit sooner…like when my partner Dave’s wife bumped into me at the shops one day and asked me to join her in a coffee there..

She asked me then out of the blue if I thought Dave was having an affair..I was gobsmacked…’Dave, I repeated..nah!..can’t see it…he’s always on the job ..’cept when he goes to do a quote..an then he’s usually only gone an hour or two….I had to think a bit…Nah!..can’t see it.’ I said again’…but it did stick in my head for some reason”.

Mark leant to his lunch-box and took out a snack-bar….he continued..

“It was about a month or so after that chat that I was there on the job early, setting up…I was at my tool-box marking these six new pencils I had bought the night before from the hardware…I sharpened one for myself and had just put the remaining five into the top drawer of my tool-box when Dave was at my shoulder..’Ah!..he said..I’ll have one of those if you don’t mind, I’m all out of them.’…I gave him a new one.” Mark ..again stopped as if in deep thought and stared ahead…he was like that..then he continued…

“It was that very night, actually..I was putting my slippers under the bed and when I lifted the valance there, I saw the pencil..it was one of my carpenter’s pencil with my mark on it…I picked it up and said my thought out loud..’What’s this doing here?’….and the missus looks over her shoulder and mumbled something like ..”It must have dropped out of your pocket”…I just accepted that , shrugged and put it on the bedside table to take to work in the morning. I never gave it a second thought, to be honest…and I never would have again except when I got to the job, Dave was already there, up on the roof doing some measuring…I went to my tool box, took out my nail-bag and remembered the pencil in my pocket from last night….I opened the top drawer and saw four new pencils there..I automatically put my hand into my nail-bag and felt and took out the new pencil I had put there yesterday….” Mark stopped, frowned, like he was going through the moment all over again, recalling it step by step…” I remember I was thinking to myself..I’m not a fast thinker..an’ I’m not quite ‘with it’ if you know what I mean..I’m sort of confused trying to work this thing out…there’s the four pencils in the tray…there’s the one in my nailbag, ..five.. an’ here’s the one I found under the bed last night…that makes six.. hang on, didn’t I give one to Dave yesterday before he went to do that quote and if so how come I have six again now..and then that meeting with Dave’s wife an her thinking of him having an affair and the pencil I gave him and going for a quote..how come I have six now…and then the wife’s ; “It must have fallen from your pocket”…all this sort of jumbled stuff…of course the LAST THING on my mind was any idea of Dave…of Dave and my wife..and it might still have been explained away except at that moment, Dave calls out from the rafters..’Mark!..can you throw me up another of those pencils..the other must have dropped from my pocket”…but I was in the middle of this dammed awful thing and wasn’t hearing him properly till it all twigged with him bloody calling to me over and over..;

“Mark….Mark…the pencil..the pencil…”

Irresistible Song.

Statue of two lovers at the border of one of the lakes of Copenhagen -

Many years ago, I was invited by a close friend to come to Perth to do some major renovations to his house..a kind of “carpenter’s holiday”. There, I met the lady about which this story was written. I got to learn about a kind of “way of life” for seemingly many single parents there..ie ; the weekend love-tourists commuting between Fremantle and Perth. This was in the days before mobile phones and internet dating. It was a sad replacement for the permanent relationship. I would think it even was then or perhaps is now, a less than happy substitute for loneliness.

It went like this :

Irresistible Song.

Memories are an irresistible song; chained to our triumphs and failings as the notes are played out on the music sheet and the song is ever played in tones of sweet delight or melancholy:

One memory always brought her back to the old water-mill they would visit as a family in her childhood. They would visit that mill in the Summer months for picnics as it was always cool under the reaching shade of that enormous building. She could see now the shadowed sloping lawn slipping away to the willows on the bank of the stream in the lee of the hill with the crumbling limestone edifice of the mill on the opposite bank. Silvered bracelets of water wept from a rusted sluice channel onto the blades of the mighty but now frozen wheel suspended from the side of the stone building. Her minds eye swept over the scene and fixed on her mother and father sitting next to each other on the red checked rug. Her mother’s head thrown back in a sudden shout of laughter so her father leant close kissing her neck in a noisy exaggerated passion so her mother squealed delightedly and they both overbalanced, falling back giggling onto the cool grass.

The memory faded and she came back to the present like a falling leaf and she waved to her children, departing excitedly in their father’s car…her ex-husband….today was Sunday, they go with the father’ every Sunday; her day off.

“Bye, bye mum… Ta! Ta!” the children cried.

The father said nothing, for the bitterness still rankled both parties so silence served for accusations.

“Behave for your father,” she called as they drove away.

Her shoulders drooped as the car disappeared around the corner, as if shedding armor and responsibility combined; the tonnage of adulthood. Marie lingered in the driveway, gazing across the road. Sunshine poured out of the morning sky and the enormous expanse of oval lapped, water like, right up to the kerb of the footpath. A gaggle of gulls frozen collage on the embankment stared patiently at a small group of children running, crying, kicking a ball in the centre of the oval.

On the closest edge of the park stood, isolated and deserted, one of those gauche spaghetti plasticised “playgrounds” that reflect the banal taste of  local-govt’ and the naivety of design that would believe that children can be enticed to “have fun” on such sterile frameworks that appeal only to vandals and local government administrators. It stood out painfully yellow and red against the placid azure-blue of the western sky.

Marie turned from the oval to gaze upon a row of scraggy geraniums lined, dusty and weary along the length of the gravel driveway. There is an unfathomable insanity inherent in our society, reflected most visually, I feel, in those tawdry flower beds of the houses in the outer suburbs; earth desperately scratched and scrapped and mounded with paths of various coloured gravels or scoria, cacti and daisy bushes, hardy roses (without scent!) or other tough, dry climate vegetation and, of course, that mainstay of colourful desperation: the geranium! with its scaly stems like rooters legs and the little circlets of hue almost precocious in its attention grabbing way like a spoilt child with a new toy to show off, demanding to be seen and used by those poverty stricken gardeners to balance out against the financial unpredictability of their own existence, at least flowers are manageable!

“Oh this dry weather,” Marie sighed. “The poor garden,” she added with a “tch” and took the hose to sprinkle some water over the geraniums. She then went inside to pick up the last discarded clothes that the kids had dropped before leaving, then again fell to washing up the breakfast dishes, as she didn’t like coming home to a dirty kitchen; it was one thing she detested; the dirty sink. “If I let the little things go,” she would protest, “it soon gets to be a frightful mess!” and she would mop the floor to finish off so she could go out and know there was a clean kitchen to come home to. For today was Sunday, her day off…today she could dress up and drive to Fremantle….Freo.

She would drive to Fremantle to sit in some cafe and try to meet a man. She smiled a little smile at the thought of these strange encounters, she smiled as she remembered Ivan, the Slav who was nice but so noisy….and he laughed at his own jokes! which she found annoying! and then there was that nice Egyptian man ;..Rafaya his name was and she thought they had so much in common…almost soul-mates you could say, then she saw him that time in the city with his family and he made like he didn’t know her and she knew he saw her by the frown and the warning away with his eyes….and he too agreed they were “soul-mates” but he couldn’t risk talking to her with his family because:

“You see, my sweet….my wife she would get very jealous and maybe take a knife to you! They are like that, my people ….very jealous.”

But still he had a lovely voice and when he talked of love in the dark sanctuary of her bedroom his words were like an irresistible song, the sweetness dropping dew-like into an empty heart, and even if it was only for one night affairs they could still see each other now and then….”Eh, my darling Marie.”

Memories are like an irresistible song, only where the lyrics of the song are fixed, the memory will sometimes edit, cut, embellish, till what is left is the scattered coloured fragments of that which we desire so deeply to see. But today was Sunday, today she would dress up and go to Freo.

She carefully selected her clothes as to best show off her figure, which (she observed critically) was in need of  “strenuous exercise,” she was “running to fat” and she frowned, then brightened a little as the noticed that her buttocks at least, now had a rather voluptuous curve to them, something she knew some men found irresistible in a woman, she gave herself a playful slap on the bum, “You’ll be right!” and she smiled into the mirror, giving herself a furtive wink. She finished her dressing, adjusted her sunglasses and hit the road to ‘Freo!’

Once she cleared the city traffic and made the highway, she pressed the ‘pedal to the metal’ and streaked down the road, the window down and her elbow out, with one hand on the wheel and the stereo blasting a suburban beat, her long dark hair streaming in wisps out the window from the speed of the car. Long streaks of cirrus cloud from the west pointed abstractedly to her destination and the car ate up the miles. Ah! speed, speed, that euphoria universal that swiftly carries body and soul on an ecstatic high to god knows where …where?…the same place, most usually, from whence we came!

Marie felt the cool rush of air over her face….Sunday…Freo!…she laughed…But! Oh! did she lock the house securely? She went over a check-list in her mind: Front and back doors….barrel-bolts?- Yes. Security locks? – Yes. The windows? – Yes. The kids room…the lounge? – Yes – Yes. Ah, but did she plug in the electronic security alarm?…”Yes, oh yes!…and I better be careful when I come home not to trip over the cord in the dark and pull the bloody thing off the wall!….Freo here I come!!”

Travel is like an irresistible song, escape from the dreariness of an ordered existence, even a day-trip can have the feeling of severing the ties that bind us to our duties. So the countryman goes to the city and the coastal-plainsman to the mountains. The desert appeals to the forest dweller and there must be an ache in the heart, sometime, of the Bedouin for sweet rainforests!

Marie parked the car under a large conifer tree next to the park, she locked the steering bar in place then checked all the doors were locked, “you can’t be too careful, you know.” She suddenly remembered the house. Did she lock up securely? – “Yes.” Good, with her mind comforted as regards her material security she could go forth to risk her heart!

Bells! bells, she paused as she heard the faintest tinkling of bells, no, not bells, too metallic,

“What is that? can’t see, can’t imagine, too far away.” And she stepped off the footpath.

Memory is an irresistible song. She remembered her own wedding and how her father wished to hear the peal of bells to celebrate the occasion, but there not being any bells at the church he decided to supply his own in the form of two enormous hand held bells that her younger brothers were to ring as she stepped out of the portal of the church, and how her father, on seeing the youngest boy struggling to sound his strongly, rushed up to grasp hands over hands and ring the bell furiously so it clapped out its joyous peal over the whole assembly in the churchyard and she could still see his grimacing smile and his suit coat flapping open with his strenuous efforts! Ah, what started so sweet should end so wan.

‘Francines,” the pastel coloured neon light glowed softly and the art-deco interior oozed cleanliness. Marie stepped up to the counter and ordered a coffee and cake.

“I’ll bring them to your table,” the waitress said.

Marie chose a table with only two seats near a potted palm and the full glass window. As she sat, she gazed around the cafe, there were only two other women there, seated two tables away, they were dressed as though on show. “Looking for men too,” mused Marie.

“Here Luv.” The waitress placed the coffee and a small plate with fork and cake on the table. “Oh, that’s alright,”   she assured Marie with a light touch on her shoulder, “ you can pay me on your way out,” and she moved away with a soft smile.

“This looks a nice place….a clean place,” Marie thought, “I must remember to come here again,” and she sipped the coffee sweetly.

She finished her first cup and took it to the counter for another. The waitress server her and asked in a comraderie sort of way: ‘

“Nice then was it?”

“Oh…yes, very much.”

“So,” the waitress smiled as she placed another cup in front of Marie on the counter, “your day off is it’?” Marie looked at her puzzled.

“Pardon?” Marie said quizzically. The waitress placed two sachets of sugar on the saucer and leant towards Marie.

“It’s alright luv,” she spoke with a familiar confidence, “Saturday’s my day off from the kids but I live here in ‘Freo’ so I go to Perth.” And she winked at Marie as she moved down the counter. “Oh, I’ll put that on your tab….and who knows, you may not have to pay it on your way out’” and the waitress smiled knowingly.

Marie was shocked, the familiar tone of the woman’s voice and the insinuation left her speechless, was she that obvious, she had always considered these sorties into ‘Freo’ as her own private excursions, she never would have thought that her behaviour was such a public spectacle. She turned to go to her table and then stopped, for two men had approached the other women at the table near hers.

“Hello Ladies.” The taller of the two spoke in a cheerful voice. “May we join you for a coffee?” The women smiled stealthily at each other, not giving anything away, then as if coming to an agreement without spoken word or sign, one of the women said:

“Well, we don’t know you but….well…they look harmless …don’t they Marcie?” and she smiled.

“We’ll take a chance,”  the one called Marcie replied.

“I may look harmless but there’s a sting in my tail!” The man laughed as he sat down. It broke the ice.

“Your friend’s quiet, has the cat got his tongue?”

“Oh…he’s thinking,” the first man said quickly.

“What about?….no….don’t tell me, I know what all you men think about….don’t we Marcie?” and the group broke into thrills of laughter and a lively conversation ensued, punctuated by lowered voices and secret confidences then bursts of shrill laughter.

Sexual attraction is an irresistible song, like an intricate spiraling melody it encircles and entwines desires to mull, mould then meld the senses into sensuality till voice and eye become a hypnotic serenade to lure the soul to hungrily acquiesce to the body’s physical need.

Marie sat gazing into her cup, but this was terrible, she was thinking, the crass coarseness of their conversation was embarrassing….then she remembered that day with Ivan in another cafe…oh God! was she that vulgar too! Yes!…yes! she recalled their own conversations….noisy and touched with crudity….conversations of idle chatter, of subtle innuendo designed to lower the barriers of strangeness between two people, the probing into lifestyles, work, interest and leisures, all followed closely with eye contact to filter out the compatibilities of two distinct personalities. She had never thought twice about her behaviour, but today was different, the waitress’s wink had triggered off a feeling of disquiet in Marie, a feeling of commonness that she was party to, a conspiracy of seduction, a whole underclass of single parents desperate for company to hold off the loneliness of isolation from casual conversation with the opposite sex. Marie sat stunned at the table, not quite knowing what to do with this new found discovery, like a person witnessing a crime but not knowing whom to tell.

The tail end of a joke wafted over from the nearby group, the men laughed.

“Oh, that’s an old one,” Marcie moved her hand wearily. “And a dirty one, the other woman admonished playfully, the man raised his hands flat in surrender.

“You should have your mouth washed out,” the woman said chidingly.

“You’re right,” the man agreed, “and I know just the club to do it in.. Anyone for a brandy and dry?”

“Make mine a ‘Harvey-Wallbanger’ and you’ve got a deal!” and the laughter resumed gaily as they all stood from the table.

“Excuse me.” Marie turned to see a man standing at her elbow. “Excuse me,” he repeated, “I noticed you sitting alone and I wondered if I may join you?”

Marie turned to gaze up at him. But it was no good, the magician’s trick was exposed and she couldn’t now fake it. She stood up from the table and gathered her things together.

“Are you leaving?” the man asked

“Y…yes,” Marie mumbled.


Marie turned to him, trembling slightly.

“I…I’m the mother of two children…” she said weakly as if that in itself was an explanation….there was a moment’s silence between them.

“And I….I am the father of three,” he said softly.

Marie looked into the proud eyes then lowered her own, he was not to blame, there was no fault in either of them, just as there was also no common interest save their own circumstances.

“Excuse me,” Marie said quietly and the man stepped aside. But as she passed, he touched her arm.

“Then why did you come here?” he asked, for each of us recognises others of like personality and needs.

“I…I made a mistake,” was all she could say, then lowering her eyes turned away to pay her bill.

The waitress leant over closely as she tallied the account.

“He looks alright to me, luv,” she whispered secretly. Marie didn’t answer but quickly left the cafe.

The sound of bells echoed over the park as Marie sat sad faced on a bench under an elm tree, the sea breeze hissing soft admonitions through the leaves.

Love is an irresistible song, that searches the emptiness of the heart, weaving melodies of possibility within its chamber, and like an irresistible song; the more you shun it, hold it away, the more alluring it becomes and not even a cloak of bitterness will shut out its desiring warmth. The one that seems so wise can be the one most vulnerable to its passions.

“What are those bloody bells!” Marie cried in exasperation and she arose from her stupor in a determined stance to investigate. Clasping her handbag to her stomach she strode through the lawned park toward the sound of the bells. A cry of gulls permeated the air as if harking attention to the dropping sun and a sweet song of voices wafted above the chime of those “bells”…the washing of waves against the sea-wall slapped time to the dancing yachts in the marina.

The singing voices were a trio of Vietnamese women talking and laughing on the wharf of the marina and the gulls overhead argued in competition to their musical language of tone and song …and the clipping of the sail ropes ringing against the aluminium masts of the yachts swaying at their moorings in the harbour: “the bells.” Marie sighed, she had expected a more mysterious solution, not such idiotic simplicity!

“Dammit,” she hissed, “why must every avenue of retreat be just a deceitful blind alley?”

Life is an irresistible song. All its trickery!, all its joy, its fanfare, its deceit but a moment etched on us like breath on a mirror and who really has the time or wisdom to answer the whys and wherefores before that mist is evaporated forever ?

Trish Corry



I love to discuss Australian Politics. My key areas of interest are Welfare, Disadvantage, emotions in the workplace, organisational behaviour, stigma, leadership, women, unionism. I am pro-worker and anti-conservativism/Liberalism. You will find my blog posts written from a Laborist / Progressive Slant.

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