//
archives

Australian Politics

This category contains 326 posts

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,

Haberdashery….gone,

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.

Ghettoed,

Clustered,

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,

Dutton,

Steinfeld,

Sandleton,

Sedan.

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.

Introduction.

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.”

“Inshallah..”

“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.”

“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.

Rodent.

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.

STUFF YEZ ALL!!!

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.

Free photo: Macro Photography of Droplet on Green Leaf during Daytime -  Blade of grass, Light glare, Water - Free Download - Jooinn

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).

Food Delivery Drivers Are Driving To Deliver Products For Customers Who  Order Online. The Impact Of The Epidemic Has Increased Online Purchases.  Stock Photo, Picture And Royalty Free Image. Image 146581983.
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.

P1010160

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.

“Why?”

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 ?

The Insanity Syndrome.

End of Era: Trading Pits Close - YouTube

There’s an insanity sweeping unrestrained throughout the Western World, that when held against the calm discipline of certain Asiatic nations, has all the hallmarks of a system in the last days of anarchy and chaos..the only restraining factor from a complete fall into social mayhem being the inability..possibly brought on by the chaos…for the forces of sane and disciplined governance to become organised.

The Western powers display all the arrogance of a declining tyranny…the arrogance of Rome in its last days…all glitter and bling with no substance..and there is a reason for this decline, this failure to correct the slide into an abyss of self-destructive consumption..The West has all the hallmarks of the parasite in the last epoch of feeding upon its starving host.

What is it that has brought us to this terrible place?

I know what it is and how to correct the symptoms.

I have written so many times on the sickness consuming our societies, only to be mocked and rebuffed time and again..or even worse, the use of that last “big-gun” standby of those who will not listen…I…like so many history-reading augers who have placed this information before the feet of our “learned sages” in the social media fields..we are ignored…ignored to the point of being deliberately snubbed by these fools and falsely-informed stooges of their class…but I am stubborn so I will persist yet again to say to you that it is the totally corrupted middle-classes who have brought us to the very edge of the precipice and without radical alteration, will take us over and to our certain destruction…and I say the; now..at this time in history..we are but a step away from that disaster.

Since the time of the decline and fall of the Western Aristocratic powers at the end of the First WW..the middle-classes have taken control of high governance…they already had for a long time controlled the finances of the Western World and did manipulate the banking and economic destinies of their many “holdings”…these possessions were the colonies so many European Aristocratic powers had carved out of Asia, Africa, the South Pacific, South Americas and elsewhere…IF there was anywhere else TO carve!…Once the Aristocracy had mortgaged their foreign holdings to the hilt, then their domestic estates likewise to maintain a bankrupting world of magnificent estates, fanciful luxury and indolent lifestyles, the mortgagees then foreclosed on this lifestyle, bringing to an end the Aristocratic delusion of supreme confidence of their supreme power..the fine historical dust of destiny had settled upon their marble busts and portraits and the mantle of power shifted from the Aristocratic shoulder to the hip-pocket of their bankers..likewise, did the limitless plunder from those colonial “outposts of progress” so brutally set up in far away places.

Unfortunately, these “new kids on the block” lacked the cunning savvy and experience that a thousand plus years of feudal rule had taught the Aristocrats..; that skill of how to secure the holding of a colony in “savage country”…: The paying off of one toady group from that nation to viciously suppress their own people and so absenting the need (except in the occasional unfortunate uprising by the natives) for a large stationary army at great cost..a lesson learned in their home academy’s from the study of Roman History and THEIR learned lesson on how to manage a civilian population. This sudden very fruitful windfall gave licence for the now centre of power middle-classes to take matters into their own hands and the plunder and exploitation grew to immense proportions as individual moguls bid for the franchises of raw commodities and slave labour…and leaving out the predictable lineal descriptions of “what happened next”, we come to these times of endless possession wars and skirmishes to the sad and lonely place we find ourselves in now.

So..where are we now?

We in the western sphere of capitalism are standing at a point where we either stage some sort of revolution against the middle-classes who now lack moral, ethical and capable knowledge to manage governing to step back from the fall…or we fall…there is no “third way”, for those who manage the money, now “manage” the elections. The middle-class has gorged itself for so many years on the flesh of the poor, the vulnerable and the susceptible, that it knows not how to stop..it is the addict that has passed the point of cure..the hunger for affluence reaching from the upper echelons of that class down to the lowliest citizen of the richest nations of The West so that even the most wretched of these will defend a creed that they are certain..given time..is their own tragic and pathetic vision of a life of gauche, squalid luxury on the back of borrowed capital and mortgaged youth to a old age of being literally consumed, body and soul by the last line of capitalism gone mad..; the aged-care homes of even more desperate middle-class speculators and parasites…A no more wretched picture of a society gone wrong could be drawn from the pages of a Victor Hugo novel to be placed at our feet for us to peruse at our own indolent leisure.

So, what do we do?

If we consult any number of historical tomes, from the primary sources of ancient literature, to the scholarly studies of such ancient mores and civilisations, we will read of a natural adaption of habitual behaviour that leads to the fall of such civilisations…they also have been recorded popularly as “The Seven Deadly Sins”…Greed/avarice being up there at the top…the lessons from those eras tell us that confident, central governance with a big “at arms length” bureaucracy that has firm control of both regulation of economic affairs and trade, along with solid command of the military, is the best method for strong, secure governance.

If we consult the wily Machiavelli of renaissance fame, we read his sage observations on governing a state, refer to the difficulty of restoring a republic to order and rule of law if both the ruling elite and the people become corrupt and stay so after two periods of change of leader…himself doubting if such a society COULD be brought back to good order without some degree of mayhem and bloodshed…a place we certainly do not wish to go…WE, here in Australia have had several changes of leadership under the LNP to only see the Party degenerate from silly to weak to catastrophic corruption…a slide toward that inevitable precipice…We now have a degenerate government of criminals and perverts…the women no better than the men, the poorest of them scrambling for possessions of property to equal the richest..The most intellectually inept holding centre stage with the most incompetent and all the while being stage-managed by facilitators and a media that itself is more concerned with property than propriety…with image rather than imagination…it is a catastrophic disaster that alongside the portending danger of climate change, is NOT waiting to happen, it is already upon us.

A political party that brings into its ranks more of the working trade skilled and working trade-professions who know and experience the needs and demands at the “coal-face” of our society, will be the party that can give good guidance and leadership into the future…The middle-classes must be removed from the higher positions of governance and power…the middle-class businesspeople must be held away from influencing governance and the bureaucracy  allowed to manage the strings of governance without fear of interference or favour of bribery or reward..the old civil service pride must be restored and its methodology, however stodgy and meticulous, maintained.

The problem is a Entrepreneurial / Speculative middle-class that now has control of the entire mechanism of governance..a majority of whom have been coached and indoctrinated by the corrupting influence of the private school/college system so the even without direct orders from the higher echelon of power, there is an automatic “knowledge” via the “nod & wink” consciousness of kind to do as has been designated through their coddled education.. We must be rid of these parasites.

When we look to the Chinese success story, we see a nation governed safely, securely and soundly with all the appearance of steady leadership and a solid direction of ambition and goals for the people. It has to be admitted, that of all the major players upon the world stage of economics, politics, military and domestic law and order, China leads the way and while it must be also admitted that such a system may be a tad too authoritarian for a nation of our number population to follow, given WE are only 24 millions against China’s 1400 millions…there is a lesson there of curtailing those whose hubris far exceeds decency and considerate behaviour…of those who would seek reward through betrayal of one’s nation and culture and a policing force unafraid to enforce those laws that provide the most vulnerable citizens a sense of national pride WITH safety and security.

An Act of Contrition.

Top 10 Fascinating Deathbed Moments - Listverse

I am moving into my “Italian period” with these next few stories. I do like those extraordinary personalities and situations that mark the characteristic of the Italian short story..I don’t think you can find the depth of “commitment” to the random acts of delinquency or romance and indeed ; superstition from an Anglo-Saxon community..But I could be wrong!

My sister told me of this “event” when she was last here from Italy. I like it for it’s example of “the vendetta”,that long-lasting animosity that exists in these small villages and the resulting act of vengeance by both parties.

It went like this:

An Act of Contrition.

Gemano Filosi, the cobbler of the village of San Pietro di Messana was making his way back to his home one Sunday morning after attending Church . He was suddenly overtaken by a man on a horse going at a steady trot..Gemano had to quickly step aside as the horse and rider passed.

“ On the hoof, Gemano?..You should get yourself one of these.” The rider shouted as he passed.

Now, to any other person such a comment would have been seen as nothing more than a friendly mock…but the fact that it was spoken by one; Cesarino Marchesso , a son of one of the largest land owners in the district, and the lingering distaste of an old family hurt concerning these two families, made it strike home with all the force of a spear in the heart…

Gemano swore vengeance.

The insult dated from back to his grandfather’s time when a foal was purchased from the Marchesso family farm by Gemano’s Family which turned out not to be the expected horse, but rather a mule!..At least that was the accusation..in all probability it was just a goofy-looking horse..but that is the way with inter-family feuds..they mostly all start with a rumour…one can construct the ongoing feud without assistance from yours truly…and then even this last “slighting” may have been overlooked but for the painful corns that bothered Gemano with every step.

Gemano swore vengeance….but was yet to figure out how.

The solution came in a flash of inspiration with a request from his sister; Elvira, the next week.

“Gemano..for the love of  Gesu , put some new heels on these shoes before I twist my ankles” she complained.

“Yes” he replied “I will have them done by next Thursday and I will leave them outside the shop door for you to collect as I have to go to the town that day.”

Indeed, Gemano was as good as his word, for he did finish those shoes and he did leave them outside his shop Wednesday night for his sister to pick up that Thursday…but not before using them to disguise his own footprints when he stole over to set alight to the Marchesso’s  hay stack on that same Wednesday night before quickly scurrying off to make his alibi in the provincial town.

Of course, as anyone who has lived in a small village knows, every family has a ‘list’ of sworn enemies that can be referred to in times of conflict and the police wasted no time in looking up the list provided to them by the Marchesso family.

The upshot was that the clear set of woman’s shoe prints left at gate which led to the scene of the crime could be traced to the sister of Gemano Filosi.  There was even a slight trace of the very soil from the site on one of the shoes. But naturally, the police would never imagine the possibility of Gemano wearing the ladies shoes as that sort of thing just wasn’t done ..

Of course, Elvira pleaded innocence and protested she was home that very night with her recently born baby..This fact threw the police a little, but still she was arrested at the insistence of the Marchesso family and placed in a holding cell on remand while they investigated. The baby could not be kept with her and had to be brought to her for feeding several times a day. This was a very distressing time for Elvira and though she suspected Gemano, she would not accuse him openly, so she sent him a secret message pleading with him to come forward on his own volition. Gemano refused and pleaded his innocence, claiming that since the shoes were placed outside his shop overnight for his sister to pick up in the morning, anyone could have used them and then replaced them with the deliberate intent of shifting the blame onto his family!

This was a line of reasoning that did have a degree of possibility about it..so that after exhausting their inquiry into Elvira, they had to admit defeat and after three months, released her. But the “stain” of accusation had been placed onto Elvira and such accusations cause long-term difficulties in a small village. Elvira and her husband moved away to the provincial city to live as a result. She still suspected her brother of the crime and never forgave him for dropping her into it and bringing such trouble and turmoil into her family’s life.

But the years passed and they all grew old..indeed, Gemano was ill for a long time and now he had reached the end of his life..He was on his death bed. But still Elvira had not forgiven him as he never confessed to her the truth of his deed. But now he was at his last days and the dottore had informed the family that he was slipping in and out of a coma and they should come to arrange last rites with a priest as soon as possible.

Elvira arranged for a priest to come with her to attend to her brother’s extreme unction. The old priest from the village being called away to the next parish that week, Elvira arranged for a new younger priest from the town to do the ritual..Gemano who had embraced the faith even closer to his heart in those later years, was not able to notice that his old mentor was not there.

Gemano lay still on the bed in the old family home. He was attended by the close members of his family and the doctor. They all moved respectfully outside as the priest heard Gemano’s last confession and was given the last rites. Being almost unconscious, Gemano could hardly comprehend what was being said to him by the priest. But there was one driving need he wanted to confess..

“Father”..he gasped weakly.

“Yes my son”..the priest replied.

“Tell Elvira….tell…tell her it was me..” and he nearly collapsed from the effort.

“You..my son?”

“Yes..the haystack..it was me” and he went silent from the effort. The priest smiled a little and whispered into his ear..

“I think it best you confessed that to her yourself…for the love of God and for your forgiveness…”

Gemano lay still for a while, then nodded weakly in consent…he knew it would be his last act of contrition.

The priest sent for Elvira  and the doctor to come to the bedside of the dying brother.

“He has a confession to say to you my lady.” The priest spoke so both Gemano and Elvira could hear. Elvira sat at the side of her brother and leaned in to hear from his weak lips.

“It was I…sister…I set fire to Marchesso’s hay..” Gemano’s eyes were wide and he gasped and looked like this statement would be his last act, his last words..Elvira stilled him and held his hand to comfort him.

“Shh, shh…dear brother..” she whispered. Then she leaned down close to his ear so as to secretly whisper into it.

“I know..brother..I always knew..and I could never forgive you for the hurt you brought to myself and my family…but I do now..I..forgive you..But while you have performed your act of contrition to me…you also have a difficulty..You see that young priest at the foot of the bed?”…

Gemano, whose eyes were closed, weakly blinked and looked to the young priest who smiled quietly and gave him a little nod…

“..well that young man is not really a priest, he is an actor friend of my daughter.and he is pretending to be a priest and you really have not been given extreme-unction..The sin remains on your soul , so you will have to go to God and beg him to forgive you..”

Elvira sat back satisfied that she had at last taken her own sort of vengeance.

Gemano’s eyes went wide as this profound knowledge slowly sank in ..but it was already too late and indeed, this treachery brought on his demise by the sudden surge of shock to his system..He gasped, raised one arm to point to the “priest” and tried to speak..but only a gasp and a croak emitted from the dying man.

“Ah!..ah!..no!..” and with a last gaping gasp of breath, Gemano fell back stone dead onto the pillow.

Elvira leaned to her brother, kissed his forehead and tenderly said..

“Yes, dear brother..now I forgive you.”

A Strange Coincidence.

Image result for Caesar on the way to the senate, pics.
You want coincidence?…Here’s a very strange coincidence!

“ It is a strange coincidence that in the same years, in which Labor was creating beyond the Canberra Bubble, a work to last for decades, there was enacted in LNP headquarters one of the most extravagant political farces that was ever produced upon the stage of  Australia’s history.  The usurper “regents of the commonwealth” did not rule, but shut themselves up in the House and sulked in silence.

The former half-deposed government did not rule, but sighed, sometimes in private amidst the confidential circles of the political offices, sometimes in chorus in the senate-house. The portion of the moderate middle-class LNP which had still at heart freedom and order was disgusted with the reign of confusion, but utterly without leaders and counsel it maintained a passive attitude – not merely avoiding all political activity, but keeping aloof, as far as possible, from the political Sodom itself.

The Right-wing Anarchists On the other hand .. the rabble of every sort never had better days, never found a merrier arena.  The number of little great men was legion. Demagogism became quite a trade, which accordingly did not lack its professional insignia — the threadbare mantle of “Pauline’s People”, the shaggy beard, the long streaming hair of the media queens, the deep bass voice of the Queensland con-man; and not seldom it was a trade with golden soil.  For the standing declamations the tried gargles of the theatrical staff of the MSM were an article in much request; Speculators and Businessmen, aspirant working-class and intern-slaves, were the most regular attenders and the loudest criers in the public assemblies; frequently, even when it came to a vote in the House, only a minority of those voting consisted of citizens constitutionally entitled to do so.

“Next time,” it is said in a letter of this period,”we may expect our lackeys to outvote the Retirees-tax.”

The real powers of the day were the compact and cashed-up bands, the battalions of anarchy raised by adventurers of rank out of negative geared lackeys and blackguards.  Their possessors had from the outset been in some cases numbered among the Labor party; but since the departure of the honesty and courage of the fourth estate, “who alone knew how to impress democracy, and alone knew how to manage it”, all discipline had departed from them and every partisan practised politics at their own hand.

Even now, no doubt, these people fought with most pleasure under the banner of freedom; but, strictly speaking, they were neither of democratic nor of anti-democratic views; they inscribed on the — in itself indispensable — banner, as it happened, now the name of “by, with and for the people”, and then hence that of the party or that of a party-chief; Palmer for instance fought or professed to fight in succession for democracy, for the senate, and for Morrison.

The leaders of these bands kept to their colours only so far as they inexorably persecuted their personal enemies–as in the case of Morrison against Shorten and Pauline against Muslims — while their partisan position served them merely as a handle in these personal feuds. We might as well seek to set a charivari ( charivari – a noisy mock serenade performed by a group of people to celebrate a marriage or mock an unpopular person.) to music as to write the history of this political witches’ revel; nor is it of any moment to enumerate all the deeds of character murder, besiegings of political offices, acts of incendiarism and other scenes of violence within the realm of various cities, and to reckon up how often the gamut was traversed from hissing and shouting to spitting on and trampling down opponents, and thence to throwing eggs and the drawing of metaphorical swords.”

The above piece is a direct quote from Theodore Mommsen’s chapter 8 fifth book on his “History of Rome” published in 1866, with just some name changes and localising of events … Yet the accuracy and pertinacity of his words ring down through the ages, as does his direct recording of those events that led to civil war and the collapse of the Roman Republic.

What we are witnessing in these times is a turning point similar to that of the end of the Republic of Rome where an accumulation of top-end wealth and power had condensed into the hands of only a few people and corporations and they were using their power and wealth to corrupt the machinery of State.

Australia has reached an age where, like the ages of a young person growing toward maturity, the country must choose a direction knowing in its heart of hearts that it cannot continue down a path of endless partying, boozing and avoiding responsibility toward community, work and family and the needs of a social state … If the realisation of confronting those same corporations and peoples that would steal the wealth of our commonwealth seems too frightening, then we must bend our necks to the yoke and accept the role of slaves to their greed and desire. We must watch helpless as our children become play-things to their material voluptuousness, trapped in a fantasy world of narcissic glitter and bling with no self-respect and even less for their fellow citizens.

It is a treasured maxim that those things most struggled for are the most valued, the same maxim exists for relationships, likewise for communities … I believe it is high time we as a nation grew from the naive carousing youth to a more mature adult and gave greater consideration to who we are, what we are and where we stand in relation to the rest of our world.

That .. or we are valueless as a people and nation.

Down The Aisle.

Your Shopping Correspondent’s report..

With Ambrose Quint.

#1.

Hello and Happy holiday specials, shoppers! Ambrose here and in this series I will be taking you “Down the aisles” to report on those special products and moments in the wonderful world of the domestic shopping centres and emporiums…A world of excitement and discounts awaits!

Let us leap into our journey!

I’d like to take this opportunity to recommend ; ‘Natasha’s’ Pomegranate and chocolate cake mix. I have it on good authority , one ; Lorna Roesler , who upon noticing the above product under my inquiring scrutiny, solemnly informed me ;” That is a nice one, that is…made it for my grand-daughter’s christening party…was appreciated all ‘round”…and she tapped the box and nodded her approval…and went on her way to turn the corner by the San Remo spaghetti stand.

Now I wouldn’t want you to think I dwell too long at the cake mix shelf..it is only a convenience stop while the Other Half peruses the John West tuna tins ..always searching out, like the alchemists of old ; the philosophers stone..that elusive ; “Tuna with brine” tin..they don’t seem to make them anymore..she scorns the w/tomato, peppers or other condiments and will grudgingly accept the tuna w/ springwater substitute…the cake shelf is just there over the aisle..and I have to say ; I AM intrigued by those gorgeous pictures of the perfect cakes on the packet…as much as some perverts are attracted by those perfect legs on the panty-hose packets or the stunning blondes on the home-perm packs…I linger very little at any of the above..I want you to trust me on that!

But I have to say, I have seen several middle-aged shoppers handle those packs of food-wrap sealed meat trays with a fondness beyond mere purchase curiosity…I see them rub their thumb over the taut film of wrap covering the ‘lamb loin chops’ so it “squeals” and “chatters” with tantalizing intensity..almost comparable to a squeal of delight!…maybe THAT is the attraction..and then , having stretched the tension out, they move on, thinking no-one is noticing their apparent interest, to the next……..but ..I..am watching..I am always watching…I am watching you all !!

Until next time, this is your shopping correspondent signing off.

Down the Aisle.

Shopping Correspondent’s Report.

With Ambrose Quint.

#2.

Happy Holiday specials, shoppers!

Although one is reticent to admit of little discernable difference in weight for weight “in hand” measure between the “Messy Jessy” sticky-orange and almond semolina cake and “Greens” zesty orange mix, I am drawn toward Messy’s for the warmth of the personal piccy of the young lady on the cover of the box…a delightful portrait of what looks like a conscientious cake baker if ever there was one….more power to her I say!

Anyway, there I was , a box in either hand , when an elderly lady bustled up to pluck a muffin-mix from the shelf..The lady was noticeable amongst the shopping surge by the fact that she was sporting a shiny, complex looking mechanical prosthetic lower limb!…I held her sleeve before she could escape..

“That looks expensive” I motioned toward the damn fine machinery protruding down from her shorts.

“Too bloody right it is” and she leant in to whisper ; “One hundred and ten thousand dollars…inc. gst.” And she nodded.

I gave a low whistle of respect.

“And can you get it on the national health?” I asked.

“No way…and they have a new model out..”The Cougar”(I think she said that!) one hundred and fifty thousand dollars” She noticed my raised eyebrows “ But it’s better than a wheelchair !”

“I bet the kids love it” I proposed.

“Oh yeah..they come rushing up and say ; “Cool! I want one!”…Oh no you don’t, I say..no you don’t”..and she strode confidently away. I have to say I agree with that last statement.

This is your shopping correspondent signing off for another fortnight.

Down the Aisle.

Your shopping correspondent’s report.

With Ambrose Quint.

#3.

Happy holiday specials, shoppers!

Hello fellow shoppers..just back from that  bohemia of bargains and I have to report that Ms. Betty Croker has one-up on her competitors in the cake-mix dept’ ..: the new “soft-pak” bag of cake mix…no more chaffed corners and leaking tears..the new papery/plastic bag gives that “soft touch” to a serious product..but I do miss the feeling of mystery when one “feels” the weight without squeezing the contents..oh well..technology an’ all that.

Onto the complaints dept’..: Different coloured items of the same veggie product…don’t like it!…I see carrots have now been given the “technicolour shine”, as have cocktail tomatoes..the carrots look totally unappealing…I won’t have them..and today I see pre-packs of cocktail tomatoes with several different coloured types..outrageous..yellow, red and brown!…The brown ones are those so-called “Black Russian” variety..the “good lady” had me try to grow some..got a few off the plant..weird..half red / green / dun-brown..not really black at all!..and the ones in the pre-pack were decidedly brown, so they looked like wombat droppings!..can’t come at ‘em at all !…if it ain’t broke..don’t fix it! ..I say.

Had the devil’s own job finding the “almond milk”..looked high and low and they turn out to be in the real milk section…who’d a thunk it?..along side ; soy, coconut, rice milk…now I have always thought COWS and other animals were milked, but by jingo…they have taken this miniturisation technology to a new level!..milking a grain of rice now…I’ll be jiggered!

Asked a woman packing heaps of brown onions into a shopping bag if it meant a heavy BBQ. weekend?

“No” she innocently replied “My husband likes them raw…has been for the thirty-eight years we have been married”…

Damn joint is getting over-run with LNP. voters!

Catch you down the aisles next time..and always remember : “It’s not the specials that matter most, it’s the smile of the checkout person when you groan at your bill”.

Down the Aisle.

Your shopping correspondent’s report.

With Ambrose Quint.

#4.

Happy holiday specials, shoppers!

On a different theme today, not withstanding the news from the packaged cake mix shelf that “The Little Brownie Co.” has nudged “Messy Jessie” off the main shelf over to the ancillary shelf ..sad, really, to see that delightful young cook “remainded”..though I do notice that “White Wings” has maintained complete domination of the shelf space!..Isn’t it always the same : Corporations rule!

But that’s not what I wanted to report today from the shopping. The most amazing thing happened..You know how difficult those unwieldy shopping trolleys can be with a full load?..well, I came swishing around the corner of aisle 7, cut close to the rack of “Sienna chopped tomatoes” and lined myself up on “the right line”(as they say in the motorcycle racing game) to cut into the rice rack for a quick pick-up of “Doongari Clever Rice”…and there, right in front was another fully laden trolley navigated by this slip of a girl !..evasive action was applied by both of us to avoid a collision..and I do not think I need to describe the consequences of such a disaster of two fully laden shopping-trolleys colliding at full-pitch…ISIS. would have claimed responsibility for the resulting mayhem!

But just as it seemed inevitable, the strangest thing happened ; We both put in place, with synchronistic timing our “ collision prevention plan”..With my left hand in a firm grip on the trolley handle, and my right on the basket corner of the trolley, I pulled off the most amazing 90 deg. Spin around..and the lady did EXACTLY the same maneuver in opposition!…both trolleys performing the perfect pas de deux  whilst the owners exchanged places and then continuing the movement, like two rock’n’rollers performing a jitterbug routine, we spun and double switched back so avoiding an earthquake of a collision and continued on our way with a passing high-five as salute.

An amazing maneuver that has to go down as an essential in the “Shopping-trolley collision prevention handbook”…But in my book , I will always refer to it as : “The dance of the seventh aisles”.

Until next time, this is your shopping correspondent singing off.

Down the Aisle.

Your shopping correspondent’s report .

With Ambrose Quint.

#5.

Happy specials, shoppers!

Yes, with the holidays now over, this week your shopping correspondent reports from the Central Market.. I first secured my spot on “The Pensioners Seat” there opposite “Goodies and Grains” and patiently watched ‘the passing parade’..I have to report that the shelves of bread and pizza bases over the aisle there are a wonder to behold. No longer are we, the shopping public, limited to dull, boring  Lebanese flat bread , now there is “mountain bread” made, no doubt for those more hardy eaters of the staple diet than the rest of us…there are “wraps” of many different grains and condiments, there are breads of so many different grains, I am not at all surprised at the “organic five grains” or the ‘wild grains” or the “spelt and barley combos”…some of which could see one getting done for GBH. If they swung it at the head of a victim!..What has happened to the old Tip-Top Tank –loaf, I ask?

Anyway I have to say that the old maxim so drummed into our generation by those sartorial watchdogs of our parents generation ; “Blue and Green should never be seen” has gone by the wayside..out the window even, for I saw such harlequin mix of colour and fabric would make a Ringling Bros’ Circus clown seem dullsville in comparison…and such fit of clothing …There were those body shapes that should not wear such tights so that it was a shocker…and enough to make a pensioner blush…there was more movement there than a whole battalion of infantry on manoeuvres!…and some that deserve a tad more discretion in their choice of shoes..

Tiling is a dead give away for poor stature and poise in the walk. You have the heavy “clumping” of the sloth-footed to the rappata-tap-tap-tap!..of the hard-soled / high-heeled lithe of step…Asian ladies have perfected the “slapping sandal” movement to perfection…I have on occasion practiced their style to try to emulate the rhythmic clap…it is difficult…and draws unwanted attention to oneself..a bit like a white guy trying to tap his foot to jazz..it just doesn’t go..there must be that “natural sense of rythym” ( 🙂 ).

Thankfully, fast fading away is the brutal look of the shaved head…replaced by the more stylish if pretentious “Hipster lick”..Now, the only blokes sticking to the style are the old guys going bald anyway and hoping nobody will notice if they shave the lot off…the “five-o’clock shadow” is a dead give away.

Anyway..been a busy day and now I gotta go do the horses..

This is your shopping correspondent signing off for another week (or two).

Down the Aisle.

Your shopping correspondent.

With Ambrose Quint.

#6.

Happy specials, shoppers!

I think we may all appreciate a little bit of cheering up…doncha think?

This shopping trolley I picked had a dud wheel. It had a flat-spot on the rear left hand wheel. I didn’t realise it was so bad until we had started to fill it with products..you know those shopping trolleys..you expect something to be wrong with them..after all, many of them suffer the most awful treatment..two or sometimes three little kids being pushed around the aisles by a long-suffering mother..or getting dumped in a ditch the other side of the car-park (the trolleys, NOT the kids!)..in a shallow water drain…generally treated like shit..sad..or else it’s got the wobbly wheel..I’ve had a few of those, you know..no matter how you try to control it, the trolley gets this wriggle, wobble, rattle and you look a goose as you wrestle with its runaway attempts..or at least you think you do..and that’s just as bad.

But I don’t know if you have noticed, but you rarely see women shoppers with a dud trolley..you hardly ever see it..I suppose that women, conscious as they are of being observed from a young age as they go about their everyday business, are just too savvy to let themselves get tricked into pushing a dud trolley..the image, the image..you know..

I tell you what is the saddest sight you’ll see down the aisles of the supermarket..; The recently divorced middle-aged male trying to do his shopping. He’s never done it regularly you see..or if at all, ..and he doesn’t know where things are or what’s the best buy..or even what he needs to buy..so he spends the first two weeks wandering up and down the aisles looking dazed and confused and to make it look legitimate as he finds his “shopping legs”, he’s got the first thing that represents a sense of security that springs to his recently divorced mind..; a packet of “Arnott’s Monte Carlo” cremes rolling about the otherwise empty trolley like a loose cannonade in a 17th century sailing battleship. I can assert these things because I have witnessed them..with blokes I have known personally.

But I had this trolley with the flat-spot on its rear left side wheel..I don’t know how it got there, probably got jammed some time and the person kept pushing it with the one jammed wheel over the bitumen car-park till the wheel got a flat spot..and now, with the good lady loading the blasted thing up, it was coming down heavy on that wheel at every revolution so that it made a distinct “dud” sound..and when I was called upon to make a swift manoeuvre. Like overtaking an aged pensioner..it would make accusative ; “dud-dud-dud-dud” sounds and I would feel the insult like it was directed straight at me..like the defect trolley was my fault..Women shoppers would lower their eyes and smile and I felt obliged to explain away the defect that really wasn’t my fault and curse the god of shopping trolleys..but THEY knew, and I do believe it gave them a comforting feeling to get one back on the “handy-man” of the species..a sort of self-satisfied ; “Mr. Mechanic- fix thyself”.

Every now and then, for some unexplainable reason, my good lady pauses at a display of this or that product shelf and peruses the ingredients label on a number of different brand but similar products. It never ceases to amaze me that women, some of the best known cynics of the species, will yet search out the lies and misinformation in an ingredients label and take what they read as the gospel truth! 

And talking of wobbly shopping trolleys, my cousin; Ron th’ brickie..when he purchased his brand new lime-green, HQ Holden, back in those days..made sure it wouldn’t get scratched by a carelessly handled shopping trolley at the supermarket by parking at the furtherest  place in the car-park…only to one day helplessly witness through the café window where he sat to have a coffee and admire his new “Kingswood” car..a reckless person, after emptying their trolley of food and products into the boot of their car, shove the trolley away carelessly into the vast emptiness of the car-park, where it ran to an almost stop, turn slightly to the downward slope and gathering speed with a wobbly wheel, steer a course as if under the control of cruel fate, directly toward the broad-side of a new, shiny, lime- green Holden HQ Kingswood motor car..and there was not a thing he could do to stop it..”It was like torture” he reflected wistfully..and he shut his eyes at the memory.

And this will be all for this series, faithful shoppers…so until next series and we hope it will be soon!…, this is your shopping correspondent, Ambrose Quint signing off.

The Last Empire.

Hundred of Anna in the Murray Mallee.

‘Twas the hour before the gloaming, when the hardest of the day’s work was done…the bulk of the fortnight’s work actually, for this day marked the winding-up of the harvest..the end of a year’s work of harrowing, ploughing, seeding and watching the crops grow..to now, the winding down of the end of the year’s worry and work…The crop was in, harvested, winnowed and bagged, the carrier contractor with his sons, was loading the last truck of sewn bags of wheat to cart to the rail-head to be shipped to the port. It had been a “paying year” for the cropping…not a bumper year like the one two years ago, but still a good year..and as far as the head of the family went, a good harvest to finish up on.

Mattheus Kreuger tipped the last bucket of hard-feed into the horse’s trough, his eye cast over the mix and texture of the feed with the experienced eye of an old horseman-farmer…Mattheus was never one to either under or over-feed his team of draught horses, knowing from bitter experience from the days of want and scarcity just how much maintained a balance of good condition in a working horse.

“Matt!” the carrier called over the yard “Matt!…we’re on our way…catch you with the receipt up at home?”

“Right you are John…be there tomorrow afternoon…catch you then”..and he gave a dismissing wave as he walked to the feed shed..the truck chassis heaved a creaking groan with the revving of the engine as it set off in a cloud of raised dust out of the farm-gate.

Home for the Kreuger family was not where they farmed these paddocks..like several Mallee Flats farmers, the main house and spread was in the hills above these drylands…in that part of the state where the grazing of fat-lambs was more reliable with the higher rainfall and better feed. But here on the flats, there was sufficient rain for good cropping which needed less than those of open pasture, so that many blocks on the flats were sown by absentee farmers who came to the paddocks with their whole family and workers with horses and equipment to stay several weeks while they worked the soil and seeded, and then when they cut and harvested the crops..There was a spacious hut built of stone on one of the paddocks that housed the women and children and where the meals were cooked and served to all the people working there…at night the women and children would sleep in the stone hut while the workmen would bunk-down in the out-buildings where the harnesses and feed-stores were kept..these outbuildings were built of rugged post and beam construction with pug and native pine infills for walls…it was rustic but warm, with the thatched roofing giving any heavy rain that soft almost silent drumming sound as it fell.

Such had been the routine for farming for so many years, that Mattheus was having troubled thoughts of handing over the reins of the farm to his sons, who were keen to adopt change to both the layout and management of the system of farming practice…for there had risen over the last few years a new technology that would render the old horse-drawn methods redundant…the age of the tractor had arrived and this new machine-driven methodology would allow twice the acreage to be worked in as much time as the old horse-drawn method..and without the tiresome attention given to the animals themselves..Mattheus was well informed of these positives by his two sons on any given moment if  a favourable ear was turned their way…Mattheus was suspicious of any talk of “making life easier”, as time had worked its abrasive grit onto both patience of mind and callous of hand..but then, he recalled, so had he persuaded his father of the benefits of the mechanical stripper over the old stooking and threshing method of harvesting..so he was willing to give his sons the blessing of his elder respect.

But today was the end of harvest and the entire family would sit to dinner this evening with the conscious relief that this marked the end of the repetitious rounds of up at dawn and crack-on till sunset work-cycle of harvest time. Magdalena, Mattheus’s wife of forty years, would serve the last full family meal for the harvest and along with the food would be the end of harvest prayer of thanksgiving and health which Magdalena would lead from the foot of the long trestle table..which would be followed by a loud and solemn ; “Amen” from Mattheus at the head of the table.

This was the ritual that finished the end of harvest every year since the family had bought and come to the Mallee Flats to crop the land. This was the ritual that bound every member to the home and hearth of family consciousness. This was the ritual that was repeated in many of those sturdy pioneer gatherings across the length and breadth of what was known as “Breakheart Country”. This was the “glue” that formed the tie to community and church and from there to each other, this familiarity and consciousness of like-habits and required procedure…this..was the culture of a community.

And what food there was!..so much gathered from the farm vegetable garden, home produce that bore the skilled hands of the growers, makers and preparers, recipes for cured meats and cheeses handed down generations…sauces and spices made from the smallest measures of condiments that extracted the richest of flavours, cuts of meat from farm-grown stock, placed in large cooking dishes and pushed to that certain place in the large wood-fired vault oven at the rear of the hut…a “hut” whose proportions were of such space in height, length and breadth to take the whole family with children and workers at one long trestle table set groaning every night with frugal but sumptuous fare..for this was not the banquet of a gluttonous merchant, but the necessary food for hard working people..and as such would give each and every person fair share of the products of their own labour from both field and garden, with loaves of fresh-baked breads to the steaming potatoes from the garden…all was good, all was well and at the completion of the meal, when an air of sighing satisfaction was perceived, it was 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…

“My usual position when at this point of the evening, 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 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..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 of 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 comeraderie 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..do not let it steal your skills..do 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.

The Making and Marring of a Baby Boomer.

Brighton Beach looking South toward Seacliff and Marino Rocks with the Lighthouse on top of the first rise.

Mick..A character study.

It never ceases to amaze me how some people can compress the whole spectrum of human emotions re. disgust, despair, weariness etc. into a short, sharp comment. “Jesus wept!” Bubblehead passed his hand wearily over his eyes. Mick had just that minute walked through the bar-room doors. It had been nearly one year since Mick … Continue reading

Mrs. Hancock.

It’s funny, you know…; the image of adults one has as a child, compared to the actual reality known by the adults of the time around you. Mrs. Hancock used to cut our hair when we were children…the four of us ; from the oldest brother (about 10 yrs) , down incl’ to my sister, … Continue reading

Mrs. Fookes and The Marino Fish Shop.

Let me tell you the story of another fish and chip shop owner. A woman too..not arrogant, nor opinionated or accusative…Oh, she was not a quiet retiring type. She had the voice and stride like a sergeant major..she would call for her child and he would hear her loud and clear half a mile away!…and … Continue reading

Kids, Cultural Differences and Willy Wilson’s Ferrets.

When one reflects on some of those past acts of terrorism it seems the culprits of a certain “terrorism raid” were teens from 14yrs…backed by “adults”…Jeesus..how frightening!..it would have scared the bejeesus out of us as kids, so when my big brother , with the help of his ‘Junior Chemistry Set’ purchased by the adults … Continue reading

“Static Electricity”.

I hope I have not given the impression that the only intellectual activity in the front bar of the Seacliff Hotel was “bending the elbow”…and getting inebriated?….I would like to assert that, like many front bars dotted about this great country, a good deal of instructive and philosophical comment was conducted on any given night … Continue reading

Glen and Mrs. Wright.

Did I ever tell you about Mrs. Wright and Glenn?..no?..Well, they were two “locals” down at the Seacliff Hotel…back in the old days, some of the last of that “war generation” that were retired or on the point of when we younger folk came along and taught them how to drink! Mrs. Wright was a … Continue reading

“Sos”.

“Sos.” You had to feel for Sos…He was one of those people raised in an institution from a very young child…”Minda Home”…that what it was called once, but the name was changed to ‘Minda Incorporated”…there was a personal slur in this state by using that original name…ie; to call someone a ;”minda” was to imply … Continue reading

Nan.

  Getting back to that “Last Supper” thingo…you notice (as have many others) one of the “Apostles” looks remarkably like a woman…well, that’s because she is!…It’s no secret that whenever a group of “alpha-males” gather, there is always one token female allowed into the group. She is there as the “straight- man” for their confabulations … Continue reading

Jasper / The Tank Sisters.

Jasper was a “Balt’ ”..ie; he was of those states centered around the Baltic Sea..perhaps he could have been Estonian…he was a tall ponderous sort of chap…with a long serious gaze, with one of those what are called “lantern jawed” faces. He always spoke in a slow , carefully chosen word way..I don’t wonder many … Continue reading

Jim..A character study.

  A Sunday reflection….stories from a “wasted” decade. Henry Lawson once said the if you were drunk more than twice a week, you were never sober…using that as a premise, I can confidentially state that many of us boomers in the seventies were rarely sober! The story goes that Jim, on visiting the dentist to … Continue reading

Toothless.

Toothless wasn’t really toothless…it’s just that she had a plate that filled the gap of three missing front teeth, that she would click and clack and sometimes push out with her tongue …an unfortunate habit that gained her the nickname of “Toothless”. She was ahead of her time for those days, as she didn’t carry … Continue reading

Steve.

Steve . He was a study in tragedy…because of what he had become from what he once was. In the early days, you’d see Steve sitting in a tatty, stuffed lounge chair in one of the many dives and squats he frequented down “The Bay” (Glenelg) , his acoustic guitar cradled in his lap, a … Continue reading

Billy Guy.

Billy Guy wasn’t so much a mystery as an enigma…and that only because he spoke with such a thick Scottish accent that nobody could understand a word he said. Mark could claim that he knew him best, having spent a whole evening drinking with him, conversing with him while both were in an inebriated state..but … Continue reading

Erroll’s Prawn Night.

The “Pub Gathering” was interesting , if for all the other things, the Hotel where it was held. I have “history” with that establishment…lesser so than my old “alma puttana” ; The Seacliff Hotel…it was There that I forged an alliance (however accidental) with Beelzebub!….ahh!..the “demon drink” did for all us youth in THAT den … Continue reading

Jack Mitchell.

Jack Mitchell shared the family home with his two sisters after the parents passed away..none of them ever married. Not that there were ever any suggestion of  dubious behaviour amongst them one way or the other, it’s just that they never married..though I was told by a person who knew him,years later that “Joking Jack” … Continue reading

To The Lighthouse.

“One must forgive the young their foolishness, for without them, there would not seem so much wisdom in old age.”…Socrates. Ah!..Friday nights, didn’t we look forward to them. But we were young and carefree in those days. A group of us young bucks would meet after work at the Seacliff Hotel on Fridays and imbibe … Continue reading

End of stories.

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.

Letter to a friend.

Image result for old Letters with pen  pics.

I place this piece to you and your readers as a seperate post as I am sure my too regular presence on your newer posts must by now be somewhat tiring to see….I apologise for my intrusion on YOUR blog..It’s just that I am a chatty person..perhaps some would call me ..: “mouthy”…I have to wear it, and will try to reduce my verbosity in future…But I did want to say this and see if you..or any others who may read it.. have any thoughts on the subject, seeing as how you too have written so many words on such a familiar subject as the human condition.

Out here in the Murray Mallee where I live, between the eastern face of the Adelaide Hills and the Murray River, on what is called ; “The Murray Flats”…or : “Break-heart country”..at the end of the second world war, there was a distinctive “cut” in a cultural tie with the methodology of farming…particularly in regards to the older families of the pioneer Germanic farmers in the area.

Before the 2nd. World War, and indeed right to the end of the war, horse-drawn implements were a common form of ploughing, seeding and harvesting…in some locations tractors had been introduced, but they were such cumbersome technology, that it was a risky and expensive proposition to do a major “tooling-up” in cost and farm layout to change over. But it did happen, and with that event, there was not only a “cut” in ties from old technology, there was also a severing with the connection between the farmer and his soil….between “Humanity and its touch to Earth”..

Where once, with the horse era, the connection between philosophy of mind, religion of heart, to callous of hand was a real and tactile thing..The farmer man and woman, rose in the early morning, praised their God, saw to and fed the animals, groomed and attended to the health of both themselves and their beasts of burden…the harness of leather and steel, the equipment of cast metal and timber..the feel of earth under foot and hoof…was it soft, hard, moist or too parched?…the entire process was “ of the senses, of the touch”.

Then, in almost the blink of an eye…it was gone…all that old expertise..redundant, along with an entire generation of horsemen farmers…the sound and scent of preparation and harnessing….of horse-feed, stabling and manure was gone…no longer were these hardy pioneers “dirt farmers”, they had now needed to graduate to become ; “chemical farmers”.

And so that was the end of something.

Another thing I believe has ended – right now – with an older generation is the understanding and/or sympathy in the writings by that older generation, of a younger generation for the reality of the Human condition…NOT to be confused with the living standard..or material comforts..or the trysts of social relationship..but rather; that uncertain something that gets us out of bed in the morning to give touch to the start of the day…the hunger of physical contact however slight or intense with our fellows…our (female in my case) opposites…the moment of embrace to start the day..a gentle ; “Good morning, did you sleep well?”.

The haste of the post-modern lifestyle, that celebrates the “individual” rather than the couple to fulfil those material needs, driving many to fore-go that moment of space necessary for human contact and relationships to co-exist..After all, we can only fill one pair of shoes at a particular time, or stand on one patch of soil underfoot…it is our mood that makes us, and I feel there is a mistaken association with the sweeping mood of “instant”communication technology via the internet or mobile phone hook-up that is making, shaping and dominating and in the end ; replacing..the mood of so many people so that the above understanding of the making of the Human condition from another age..another generation of post war people, is being lost or thrown aside for a new-fashioned personality that has little time to look into either the eyes or the soul of humanity..and like those post war farmers who adopted the new technology to up-the-ante in both speed of the deeds of farming and the output for profit that resulted in the further decimation of an already fragile environment, so too will a past generation’s experience of the pain and what is gained from that pain, be shunted aside for a more “profitably expedient” if tactile poorer outcome in human relations.

And that too, I fear..will be the end of something.

I make this claim because after years of writing story and tale, essays and poems on example after example of situation, devastation and humiliation of so many good folk and their moments of life, I have to conclude that it has to the greater extent been to no avail and the grinding of those most vulnerable underfoot has continued almost unabated…and this saddens me…NOT to the point of actual depression, but rather in that way where one has to sit by and watch a drama unfold and yet not be able to do a thing to stop it…like the proverbial train wreck in slow motion.

And there were our grandparents and parents who saw it, lived it and told oral story after story about those times which we, of a better educated generation..perhaps the BEST educated generation of an eon of years, has put down in word on page those lives..and yet the carnage goes on…Perhaps, like that generational change from horse-power to tractor, it cannot be stopped and the maxim of ; “Live for the moment”…better suits the times than the old ; “Work like you are going to live forever and pray like you are going to die tomorrow” ..which is..like this author..just too wordy to be called out of a swiftly passing window.

Rosie’s Hut.

Coast to Coast – One Single Drop
Not the real “Rosie’s Hut”, but a similar size and construct.

If you turn off the main road and travel around five furlongs .. in the old money .. down a dirt track called Kruger Road, you will come to Rosie’s Hut.

I first heard of Rosie’s Hut around .. oh .. fifteen year or so ago now … when we first brought this place from my Aunty … old Vera … you see, she had gotten old and was a bit crook, so her doctor advised her … quite strongly .. that she needed to move into the main town in the Barossa for the sake of her health … so she put this property on the market and we just happened to be looking for a dusty little spread out here in the mallee and bango! … Bob’s your uncle … so to speak.

Well, one side of the property backs onto Kruger Road, just a stone’s throw from Rosie’s Hut … so it wasn’t long before my curiosity got the better of me and I wandered over to have a squizz at the place.

“Hut” is probably the wrong description of the place … because it is too large and too well-built to be considered that .. but at the same time, it is just a one roomed building standing by itself without any other sheds or out buildings backing it up. But there, that’s what it is called .. sure an’ I did originally think the name was in relation to a woman’s name and I could let my imagination .. of which I have an over abundance .. conjure up an image of a past age, with a woman living out here in the hut … a woman with rich red hair .. of the Christina Rosetti type … an image of her as depicted by the Pre-Raphaelite painters … throw in a touch of Shirley MacLaine in “Irma la Douce” and you are getting somewhere near me.

Or perhaps as the Inn-keepers daughter in the poem “The Highwayman” by Alfred Noyes.

“The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees,
The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,
And the highwayman came riding–
Riding–riding–
The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn door.”

And so on it goes .. a lovely piece worth the read, here .. https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/43187/the-highwayman

But in truth, there was no long-tressed woman to stand at the hut’s door, no blue-eyed daughter in the moonlight, no simpering eyes in the moonlight, to tempt a young man to share in the moonlight … the local knowledge of why Rosie’s Hut was there or why that name, took a little searching on my part over a span of these near fifteen years … for all those who lived through those early pioneering years have now passed away and have taken with them that knowledge of who, what and why these people and places existed … Except! . . .

Except … there were clues that gave it away .. the first was old Mr. Rosenswieg … he was the “Ted” in my story of “Ted and Edie dance the Rumba” ..https://freefall852.wordpress.com/2019/10/20/ted-and-edie-dance-the-rumba/  … he was born around 1933 .. and he filled in the rest of the name from “Rosie” to Rosenswieg … hence .. : Rosenswieg’s Hut. Evidently another branch of his clan owned land around there but had disposed of it before he was born … But he did give me the next clue to the reason for the hut’s existence .. He told me that back in the early days of cropping here on the flats, in the late nineteenth century, some landholders did not actually live on the blocks, but rather would come down from their hills homesteads, bringing their workers, family and horses and assorted equipment for either sowing or harvesting … depending upon the season and would camp down on the flats paddocks while they did an intensive round of ploughing and seeding or harvesting and bagging the seed or sheathing the hay …

All the family including women and children were brought down to help with the labour-intensive work … the women to cook, the children to clear stones from the paddocks or feed the horses and that is why there was that one solid-built “hut” … to give the women and children shelter at night after doing the cooking and serving for the workmen and family … who slept in the thatched-roofed post and beam outbuildings.

It was a different life back in those days .. this area being known by it’s branded name : “Breakheart Country” … all hard work and muscle for both the men and the women, while the children also were expected to pitch in to help … I know about the children being there in the fields because I have record of one child from my German relatives family dying from burns because of being caught in the burning of the stubble that was practiced in those days before ploughing for the seeding season.

That explained the whys and wherefores, but not the confirming date of the construct and by association, the times of when those families stayed in the hut.

What threw me about the dimensions of the one-roomed hut, was, as a builder myself, the proportions and construct told me that this was no family home … not even in the pioneer sense .. I have experience of those pioneer settler’s houses … they are mostly of stone/post and beam with pug & pine walled infills. Rosie’s Hut was well built, the corner quoins not of local limestone nor a local granite, but layered large pieces of slate … this secured the corners of the building and held it fast for a long time, unlike other early buildings that fell down without the solid corner bondings .. The lime mortar placed the building in the latter part of the nineteenth century, but the machined roof timbers of Oregon and the stamped / branded roofing iron from England gave the date to around the turn of the twentieth century .. The clean walls of solid, lime plaster showed that there was never any room divisions and there was no evidence of wall plugging for cupboards … so the one big room, with a small fireplace with a large German vault-oven behind it showed this hut served as eating place after a hard, long days work and then the private sleeping quarters for the women and children, while the men slept in those thatched shed outbuildings …

It would seem that everything required for the month’s duration needed to seed or harvest the crop was brought down from the hill farm, including the slate building stones as there is no slate of any reasonable quality to be found on the flats .. I wrote of those days and the trials and tribulations here .. https://freefall852.wordpress.com/2018/10/31/soil/

So now, after all these years, I feel I can quietly say with a sense of confidence that Rosie’s Hut had a long and fruitful career as cookhouse/shelter until the days of the horse drawn farming era came to a close .. the end of many things … much back-breaking work, labour intensive farming and all, yet there must also be admitted that alongside those daylight hours of chore and grind, there was also the evenings of no doubt some singing of old folk songs from their homelands along with the weary relief and satisfaction of what they had achieved and the resulting harvest would give claim to the nod of a job well done and payment well deserved .. a thing fast becoming obscure and unfathomable in this age of cynical weariness … https://freefall852.wordpress.com/2019/01/10/letter-to-a-friend/

A Mother’s Right.

O Mom!” | Coffee With The Lord

I see her even now so clearly..like a child sees his mother…like a son sees his mother for what was honoured what was loved and what was wanted…what was wanted and also what was lost…What tragedy is a mother?…can the loyalty of a legion of national heroes match her dedication and honour?…what an investment is her love of her offspring, to give so much of her heart so that in the end she can only watch as they leave her and leave her care..she must watch as they leave her care..she cannot hold them to herself any longer…then they are gone..and she grows old.

My younger brother had an accident while riding his motorcycle, the damage to his leg was quite severe and left him with steel pins and plaster cast for around eleven months. I had just returned from working in the north of Australia and the cold weather was not conducive to a good mood.

Winter…The carriage of the morning 8.28. train to the city was cold and draughty. Rain streaked on the panes of glass, angled and beaded by the wind. I sat chilled, committed to endure the ritual of confronting the almighty twin towers of LAW and ORDER..but rather, not exactly me, but my mother. I was brought along for moral support. We were going to the small-claims court to contest a hearing that went against my brother in the cause of the accident..My brother lost that case and had resigned himself to the result, but our mother was adamant that “justice and a fair decision” was our right.

I had already leaned in my young life that which a more trusting older generation did not seem to be able to grasp: You cannot for the love of Mary expect a fair shake from those tombs of Law ( those dusty-musty tombs) without pouring everything paid for and promised into that gaping maw of “legal representation” . It ‘d be cheaper to run a Rolls Royce.

A child over the road from the station. On her way to school no doubt. Yellow raincoat with bag clumsily slung over shoulder skipping carefree in the drizzle….(O’ …, child run past my window…wide, … something-something-with every stride….O’). The image started a rhyme growing in my head..

“Daniel?”

“Hmm, Yes mum.”

“Did you see that young girl over the road there? Ah, the young, they don’t seem to feel the cold like we do. ”

“hmm……(…youthful life in every…nuh..doesn’t work)”

“How many witnesses did you get hold of?”

“Well..the legal aid people said to bring along as many as possible, it looks good in the magistrate’s eyes.” Mother replied.

“Yes, but how many did you get?”

“Only Mrs. Rowe….Mrs. Morris wouldn’t come…I can’t blame her..she’s expecting, she’s nervous.”

“Hmm. Do you hold much hope?” I asked.

“I’ve just got to try…I..I can’t let that Wishart chap have clear run of it…. It grates on my….my nerves. To see poor John..a year in plaster…an all that University study down the drain.. an’ that smarmy lawyer at the first hearing….I just have to fight it a bit…I’m his mother an’ I won’t see him hurt without sticking up for him a bit…..it’s…it’s my right.”

“John saw fit to give it best…” I pondered.

“Well he shouldn’t have. He should be here now instead of me…But, well, at least I have his signature for me to represent him today.” And she clasped her handbag tight in her lap.

“I don’t know, that legal aid crew…I don’t know.” I said doubtfully..then self-reflecting that I wasn’t much good at this “moral support” thing…

“Well…I can only go by what they advise.. an’ if they won’t come in with us, then I have to go alone and this time I have Mrs Rowe!”

“Trump card.”

“Well she wasn’t there at the first hearing so she will be new evidence…and she says she saw the whole thing…the whole accident.. right there outside her window…. it’s a wonder that other legal fellah John hired didn’t bring her along to the first case.”

“Good of her to come.” I mused.

“Oh, I said I’d pay her for the half day she missed at her shop.”

“But her husband runs the shop doesn’t he?”

“Yes I know but….well, I have to give her something….I..”

(“..a child run past my window wide… Less a child with every stride.. er..nah!)

Central Station roared with life. So many people, so many people. I like crowds , but I don’t like to think myself part of the crowd. But I guess I am. To those other people I’m just, well..one of those others…(Doctor, my eyes..can you see… can you feel….the child runs..)

“What did you say?”

“The bus, here, we’ll take the bus.” Mother paid the driver..” The law courts thanks,”

Those little sayings on the back of the tickets…what does this one….”There is no rainbow at the end of pot,”, ..Oh I don’t… no rainbow at the end….silly thing, can’t believe it…. Two punters were having it out over the races.

”No, I don’t want to see your tips..Like yesterday at Randwick..knew it would win,  just knew it…But nooo, you said it wouldn’t an’ just what ‘appens….It’s the last time I listen…”

“I know, I know, you just can’t win. So, who can?” the other answered..

The cold sterile buildings of the law courts. So neutral in design, so impartial in colour, so sparsely furnished, as though it was a crime itself to give the place any character at all. Here we met with Mrs Rowe. She suited the surroundings.

“Hello, so good of you to come .” My mother greeted her.

“Well… we’ll see Mrs Clarke.” She returned.

“Here, we’ll sit here, Oh, this is my son, Daniel.” We were introduced.

The seats offered little comfort. I was crowded to the end when another couple entered the waiting room. Gradually more people filled the room till there was standing room only. We all sat there in silence, trying, I thought, to sus out what each other person was doing there. I had to rush off for a “nervous”.

“Excuse me, I have to go to the loo..” I even felt guilty for that. The rest seemed to frown on me as I edged out the door…. Air, open air…ahh!

While I was in a cubicle, a man came through the outside door. He sounded angry with another person there.

“Listen here, I don’t give a tuppenny damn what his excuses are, I need that machine this weekend without fail.” The urinal flushed and a tap sprayed into a basin while the other answered.

“But sir, you must understand the difficulty he has in getting parts…..Here is a little list he wrote of the pieces….”

“Give us that list.” the paper was snatched, a door of a cubicle flung open and the toilet flushed. “There, that’s what I think of your “little list”….This weekend, that’s all.”

The outside door slammed. I thought they were both gone. I went to wash my hands and there was still one of them there. He glared at me when I appeared, one of those cold looks you get from an official who has some sort of authority deciding to deal with you in some way.

“Good morning.” I said.

“Mornin’.” The other man curtly replied and walked out, it was the angry one.

(.. child run past my window wide, Less a child with every stride….happy now in innocent age..goorr).

A motley crew it was there in the court room. A furtive bunch of clients with a shifty lot of solicitors. “Pearson please, of Pearson versus National ..” The clerk of the court called. “Pearson plea…”

“Oh yes Frank. here, it’s been deferred. They couldn’t arrange a witness.” And on and on, until;

“All rise please, his honour John Mathews presiding. ” It was the man shouting in the toilet. I almost chuckled out loud. The cases were got through speedily, but with little result. It always seemed they were deferred to a later date because of some obscure reason. One time a young man in a crushed and creased blue, pinned striped suit rushed in with a sheaf of papers addressed the magistrate for no more than a few seconds then dragged a sheepish looking client outside for a quick consultation. He never returned. No-one seemed to miss him. The court steamed on like a cargo of pilgrims to the promised land .Till finally: “Wishart verses Clarke.” Was called.

“Give ’em a run mum.” I encouraged.

Wishart was there with his lawyer.

“Your honour. We wish to present no new evidence at this appeal, but will rely on the judgement bought down at the preliminary hearing. Thank you.” The lawyer spoke then sat back down.

“Well, Mrs Clarke…You are the defendant’s mother it says here.” The magistrate read from his notes.

“Yes your honour, my son, John, is away working up the Riverland at the…” my mother explained.

“Yes yes…But you see, he is eighteen years of age, and so you cannot represent him here. You were explained that …before.”

‘Yes I know your honour but this time I have a little note he signed allowing me…”

“Regardless of your…little note, Mrs Clarke, I cannot let you represent your son.”

“But the Legal aid people said….” Mother tried to speak…The magistrate raised his voice in anger..

“I don’t give a tupp…well I’m afraid they led you astray…what makes you think you have the right to come here as a legal authority?” the magistrate tried to belittle mother.

I saw her eyes narrow and her jaw set..there was that moment of threatening silence that mothers impose as a kind of “clearing of space” before they speak…and then my mother spoke boldly..sharply..

“I have a mother’s right to defend my child!” my mother stood her ground and quickly but sternly replied…I could hear several soft gasps from people behind me…

This simple logic pulled the magistrate up and he seemed to give some thought to the reason. He then replied in a more conciliatory and polite manner.

“A mother’s authority, I’ll grant, has a reach so far,  but THAT doesn’t extend into the law courts…yet..”

“More’s the pity” my mother mumbled quietly.. The magistrate paused and raised one eyebrow as if to chastise her..but then thought better of it..for every man knows : A mother’s temper ought not be tested.

“…But this thing has dragged on long enough,” he continued ..” a decision must be reached on this case,” The magistrate rustled amongst some notes on the bench.”It’s best, I think , to defer this till we have an assessment of damages. If that’s agreeable to both parties?..Very well, case deferred for cost assessment and a hearing set on completion thereof.”

And that was it. No witnesses called, no discussion entered into, no completion.

“Short and sweet?” I sighed when we were outside.

“Damn and blast…What a waste of time.. what’s the use of those…” My mother was piqued at the result.

“Mrs Clarke.” It was Mrs Rowe.”I really must be off, if I only knew it was going to be this useless…You said you would reimburse me the half day…” We stood on the pavement at the corner of City Square.

“Oh yes Mrs Rowe, I’m dreadfully sorry….Here” and she handed Mrs Rowe a fifty dollar note.

“But Mrs Clarke, I thought we agreed on eighty dollars.” Mrs Rowe complained.

“What..Oh no Mrs Rowe it was fifty.” and they stood there, both frowning till Mrs Rowe shrugged her shoulders and walked away.

“A disappointing day all round eh?” I was trying to ease the feeling.

“A useless day would be more correct…Strange that It seemed so clear and simple last night in bed…” She sighed.

That rhyme started up again in my head…I was getting sick of it…(”A child run past my window wide, Less a…”) ahh forget it, don’t corrupt the memory..Leave the child run…

The Tower.

The Tower.

He fell,

As mighty edifices do fall,

And death made a mockery of him,

As it makes mockery of us all.

But I was just a child of Shinar,

On the plain where The Tower was built.

Bored with a sedentary life,

They hungered for something to adore.

It sprung from the soil a shimmering phallal,

Upon it they lavished their skills

And they named it Babel.

Oh, how it climbed toward the heavens!

While we fed off the spoils of Mother Earth,

The fruits and wines that gave us birth

With n’aer a thought of impending death,

So was the pride full in our hearts.

I asked of my Father, a mason there,

“What the reason for The Tower?”

“In your wildest dreams” he said “you will not want,

And in your steps you will not falter,

We have built and paved a path to heaven,

We have gilded mankind’s altar.

Precious stones from far Afghanistan,

Quoins of coloured marbles of Kazakhstan

Pearls from the depths of The Euxine Sea,

Onyx and alabaster barged down the Nile,

These riches have we brought to thee!

Heaven is our gate, Hell below our feet,

We stand poised to challenge the Gods

Never more to yield to a defeat.”

I was a child of Shinar when the Tower they built,

And never was there a more united cry,

A more singular and determined voice,

“Babel!” they cried, “Babel! You are ours!”,

Voices like sea-waves crashing eternal upon a beach.

And they built onwards and upwards that mighty tower,

The riches of the Earth they did devour,

With no thought of rest…nor honour,

We poured all into that mighty edifice.

Our leaders, as toward heaven it thrust,

They called down to us, encouraged us,

“This is of you” they softly called.

“This is by you” they softly persuaded.

“This is for you” they softly whispered.

And that triple reassurance won us,

And we worked and laboured for that goal,

“Babel, Babel!” we cried and we worshipped the ideal,

And we never wondered when our own plates went empty

Why some others were always filled,

Why THEY were able to lavish aplenty,

While our plains and wells went dry….

Then it fell.

As soft as a tremor, violent as a quake,

It fell because of one small mistake.

It fell when we suddenly came to see,

After climbing, climbing so high in that ecstasy,

Those Gods whose heaven we were calling home,

Were neither singular..nor divine,

But were a made creation of our own!

WE made the Gods of OUR own image,

NOT the Gods of us!

WE made heaven of OUR own wants and desires,

Our leaders fed us of our own language,

And fanned and fuelled our tangled runes,

Spoke in riddles of strange but familiar sounds,

Until we could no more understand their tongue,

And then we saw..our work there was done.

We cast away our tools,

Cursed each other as fools,

And wept….

“Oh Babel, Babel..why has thou forsaken us”.

But too late..too late..it is gone, it is bust..

Babel, our hopes, our dreams, our lusts,

Babel, our creation, our immortal soul,

Has but gone to dust….

We were children of Shinar when first The Tower was built,

We are adults now…awash in a sea of guilt.

“Write again, Blue eyes.”

P1010155

“Tickets please….Tickets please”…

The porter made his way from seat to seat checking and clicking the tickets of the passengers of the 12.30 pm. train to the southern suburbs..It passed through the flats onto the hills stations to finish at Marino Rocks.

Annette clicked open her purse to extract the return ticket to Brighton from the side pocket there…upon extracting the pink slip of paper, she noticed a similar one still in the pocket..She took this one out as well, examined the date of “ 3 May 1951” and satisfied herself that she handed the current dated one to the porter..

“The sea is nice there at Brighton this time of year.” He spoke as he clicked her ticket.

Annette said nothing in reply, but just nodded her head in agreement…The porter moved on down the aisle between the seats…

“Tickets please. . . “ he repeated.

Annette placed the current validated ticket back into the purse pocket, she gazed at the older ticket and noted the date as of one month previous to today’s date…she silently admonished herself for being so neglectful as to leave the ticket in her purse…She screwed the ticket up and dropped it to the floor of the carriage. Upon closing her purse, she caught a glimpse of the newspaper clipping she had cut from the day’s paper miscellaneous column..Annette knew the wording by heart, but she kept the cutting as a sense of reassurance of the appointment she had arranged.

Annette ran through the message again in her mind..:

“Letter OK, sweet..meet at B..first date mentioned in letter..If anything happens ask for letter at B….Blue eyes.”

She secured the catch on her purse and placed it in her lap and turning her face to the filmy window of the carriage, she saw the reflection of a young, but not so young now woman, with wavy brown hair above a pale, powered face with, she hoped, a not too dark a shade of lipstick on a pair of pert lips..There was a furrow of concern on the brow and the eyes looked wary.

She turned her head away quickly as if she had seen something she would rather not think about and proceeded to turn the plain, gold wedding ring on her finger.

“ It’s not unusual” Doctor Short had said..”Young married couples do sometimes take a while to conceive..I’d give it some more time and just let nature take its course…perhaps a quiet evening or two at home with a favourite record on and a glass of sherry…..or two..” and Dr. Short smiled his warming, ‘confidence giving’ smile…Annette just nodded in agreement and said that her husband preferred beer.

But it had now been three years and still no change.

The short , terse discussions Annette had with her husband on the possibility of one of them being infertile always ended in her being reassured that HIS side of the family never had any such problems and ..no…he did not want to go to the doctor and get “interfered with” when he was certain the problem did not rest with him..and that was the end to it.

The Italian lady next door, Elvira, laughed when told of Annette’s dilemma..

“Back home we had a saying that there were no infertile men in the village…and certo..if a woman could bear children, then there were children…because after a certain time passed, the parish priest was called in to “do his duty to God’s handmaidens” and he would hang his walking cane over the entrance doorknob while he “administered the faith” to the lady of the house and if the husband came home and saw the cane there, he would keep walking up to the bar and play a hand or two of briscola, take a whisky or two, before making his way back home respectfully.”

Annette dismissed those notions as typical of peasant village women thinking…an outcome much too public and open to ridicule for a lady of Anglo descent…There were ways other than gross serviceability…discretion was the hallmark of civilised society…of a refined woman in today’s world.

Annette stepped onto the platform at Brighton and made her way to the exit ramp. She paused at the top of the ramp and gazed over the road in front to a little corner store-cum-post office there on the “Old Beach Road” that led to the seashore. As she gazed at the empty scene, a man of around thirty-five years stepped out of the corner store..he stopped to take out and light up a cigarette with a personal lighter that he replaced to an inside pocket of his suit..Annette recognised him and gave a small noting wave which he cautiously returned….she crossed the street and without touching, they proceeded to walk to the beach.

At the beach, the man spread a checked wool blanket that he took from a parked sedan in the road above the sands. Annette removed her gloves and shoes and made herself discretely comfortable on the blanket.

“Nice to see you again.” The man spoke “This being the third time in as many months, will this be a regular thing?” he teased and touched her forehead as he brushed away a tuft of fringe of her hair.

“I’m not sure.” Annette replied..” Circumstances may prevent us meeting again.”

“What do you mean?” the man sat back from his position close to her..He cocked one eyebrow questioningly.

“I may be pregnant.” Annette spoke plainly. The man raised his eyebrows and with wide-eyed anxiety asked..

“Heavens…what are we to do..I mean…I can’t…”

“No..it’s quite alright,’ Annette touched his arm reassuringly..” I wanted it to happen..I wanted the child.”

The man looked bewielded and a bit dazed..

“Well..that may be good for you…but I am already married with children…I thought this was a fling for both of us…I can’t manage another family.”

Again, Annette touched his arm reassuringly…

“No..I will not trouble you about the child..as you know I too am married..but we…my husband as it now turns out…couldn’t have children..couldn’t give me a child..so I took the opportunity of our relationship to have one with you.” Annette gently smiled..” I needed another child….”

“Another child!?” the man stared and thought..” Then …then that time several years ago when we first met….?” He didn’t finish what he was thinking..

“Yes” Annette smiled again..”He’s two now and beautiful…thank you.”

The man was thinking now…:

“So that’s why you wanted a recent picture of me when we first wrote?…so you could see if I was a close match to your husband?”

“Of course!…It would not work otherwise..I mean how would it look if you were a flaming red-head, or a swarthy Mediterranean type?…How stupid would that be?”

“And your husband doesn’t know?”

“Of course not..he thinks he’s shooting bullets not blanks…and I had to make a decision soon or it would start to come back on one or the other of us…after all, there are expectations in society …you know”

“Yes…the stigma of a barren woman or a man who only fires blanks…terrible”…

The man leaned back against a rock of the breakwater and took out and lit another cigarette..

“It’s why I got back in touch with you in the paper.” Annette softly spoke.

“Yes..right..I was rather surprised..I presumed you’d forgot all about me…was delighted to read your request to meet again, though.. but you would risk your marriage for the sake of having children?”..and he blew a stream of smoke into the soft air of the Autumn day.

“He broke the contract!” Annette blurted out..and then in a more condescending tone..” and he didn’t want to have tests done..he didn’t want to know if it was himself..no man does..so this way we both achieve our goals…even you” and she smiled coquettishly …The man drew on his cigarette and returned her smile.

“In that case..I suppose so”..and he drew on the cigarette again..” And so we continue to meet..Blue eyes?”

“Blue eyes?” Annette queried.

“You remember when we first communicated through the paper and I asked what you looked like for when we first meet?”

“Oh yes”..Annette clasped her arms around her legs as she sat thinking of the time. “ I didn’t know how to go about these things…it was only chance that I spotted that column…miscellaneous..in the paper and I read several of those people..mostly men..lonely men looking for ‘lady companions’.” Annette giggled.

“yes…” the man reflected..”It was a new thing for me too..I was lonely, coming down every month from the north on business…A man can end up a drunk or worse when he has too much time on his hands….a mate in the same game as me put me onto it…took some Dutch courage to kick it off though” and he gave a laugh.

“ You didn’t give much away…but you did say you have blue eyes…..and wavy hair.” He touched her soft locks. “ but you never did tell me your whole name”.

“And neither did you..and it best remain that way…for truly, if I am pregnant, and I do believe I am..we probably will not be meeting again…I don’t want any more children..two is enough.”

The man stubbed out his cigarette..

“Yes..well…that may be for the best all around..It could get sticky if it gets out..for both of us….I wouldn’t want my wife to know..and our four kids is plenty for me..”

“Oh…” Annette replied lazily..” She probably already does..or suspects at least”..

“Nah..she doesn’t have  a clue…she’s miles away..up north”..and he stared out over the sea.

“Oh..she’d know ” ..

“How?” the man asked…”Would you tell her?”

“How could I ..I don’t even know your real name…No..it’s you men…when you are satisfied in that way….you walk about like a prancing Tom-cat”…and she smiled..

“Are we that easy to pick?” he grinned…

“Of course…how would we women not know…after all, it was US who invented sex…do you think Adam would have eaten the apple without Eve?”…Annette threw her head back and laughed. The man grinned and looked at her affectionately..

“I’m beginning to worry about you..You’re dangerous..But what of today?…here we are..?” and he looked at Annette with a cheeky grin.

Annette lowered her eyes in a vampish manner and replied..

“I suppose it doesn’t hurt to make certain of a good job done..” and she touched the side of his face affectionately.

“Come”..he said..” I have a car waiting for my lady”…and they gathered themselves up and made for the parked sedan at the top of the stairs.

Annette paused at the foot of the steps and he offered his arm to steady her as she put on her shoes..she turned to the man and asked..

“ Can you give me your name?…Not your first, your second name..and when the child is born, I can let you know…in the miscellaneous column..”

The man turned and smiled at Annette ..

“Paul”. He said..and he held out his hand….They walked to the car..just like any young couple.

Ten months later a short sentence appeared in the miscellaneous column of the daily newspaper..:

“ Package arrived safely..much joy..”Pauline”…”

The following week on the usual day they would communicate Annette read the confirming note in the miscellaneous column..:

“ Sweet…letter OK…if ever needed..write again, Blue eyes…”

The Conversion of Father Carravalo.

Three Days of Darkness By the Prophets And Our Times

Continuing my Italian Story theme..:

I heard this tale from my sister when I once visited her in Italy back in the seventies. She told me she had not long been in the village when one day whilst sweeping by her back door, an older woman hurried past. My sister said “hello” in politeness, but the lady did not stop, she just quickly said that she was in a hurry to get to her mother’s as she was looking after her children..”I have their clothes” she motioned to a bundle under her arm and on she went. A few moments later an older man came and asked if my sister had seen his wife come past with a bundle of clothes under her arm. My sister related the quick meeting with the lady and told him that she had gone to her mothers’ to pick up the children.

“Ah”..he said sadly, “Her mother has been dead these many years and so have all the children…I will go and find her”….and on he went.

I tell the story of the events as my sister told them to me all those years ago..The priest in the story is, of course, a metaphor.

It went like this:

The Conversion of Father Carravalo.

My name is Pietro Carravalo, of the diocese of San Angelo di Povero. It is the ninth day of February nineteen hundred and fifty one.

Yet ,just three days ago I was known throughout the district as Father Carravalo. I was the parish priest of the aforementioned diocese. Three days ago I was proud to be known as such! Three days, three days I have groveled in this dirty cave out of sight for that period, out of sight for fear of meeting another human whilst I pondered on the sad misfortune of Signora Marzetti.

You notice I use the past tense when referring to my status as parish priest. This is no accident, nor the result of official dismissal from my post. It is self absolution I henceforth rescind that title, as do I likewise any association with the institution known as ” The Church”. I pace the dirt floor of this cave as I reflect on my decision, as I have done so for the last three days! But there is no other way, I cannot in all honesty claim the privilege of spiritual healer or guider or whatever when I no longer have faith in the basic tenets of ” The Church”.

Three days ago Stefania Marzetti lost her last child. He fell down the stairs at his home and broke his neck. It was the fifth child she had lost in three years….I’ll repeat that; five children….all her children…dead within three years! Madonna Mio I tremble to think of it…one after the other ; polio…typhus…scarlet fever….then little Paulo from something as clumsy as a fall..well..she is mad now, I saw it in her eyes before I fled to this refuge, maybe I too am mad! but no! I can talk as such to you because I am sane, shocked but sane. Maybe it was this shock that jolted me out of my fantasy of high priest of absurdity!

Complacent…. self satisfied I was in my privileged position as priest to those simple people. their lives were ordered, quaint, predictable, as were my duties concerning their spiritual guidance. How many years have I poured Latin and lassitude into their souls? Too many to contemplate. How I reveled in my obligations, how I enjoyed those sanctified moments, those pauses of silence when intoning the mass ;  “Nome il Padre e Figlio e Spirito Santo” ahh! flows like a piece of poetry, eh?

Then came the polio How many children did we lose?… How many of those little ones that I myself baptised, did I place in the ground? How many shoulders did I embrace as they heaved and wept, while whispering “couragio, couragio”, into their ears? How much sadness can you record onto a death certificate? How many broken families onto a tombstone?

When Stephania Marzetti lost her first child from the polio, she was not alone. At least a dozen children in the diocese went down with him, so it seemed her suffering was not a lonely vigil. I took her aside after mass one day and helped her light a little candle for the child and to place it at the feet of the Virgin in memorium, then joined her at the altar rail for prayers of help and forgiveness. I did the same for all the distressed parents. Then in that same year came the typhus and she lost the youngest,…a girl. Again, there were others too that lost a loved one, though not all the same families, so that we thought it rather unfortunate Stephania should again be afflicted with such sadness for the second time. Again I consoled her with the blessing of God and a candle at the feet of the blessed virgin. Another name was chiseled onto the tomb! Masses were dedicated to the protection of the innocents and the plea that the typhus would pass without more sadness. Then she lost another child to the disease, the eldest. In the name of God, what more could I say to comfort her? What platitudes this time?

“God is merciful ” ( what mercy?) .

“We will rely upon Him to guide us through this valley of darkness?”

“They have gone to eternal life?” (while she suffers a living death?)

Words, words, diversions from emotions, yet still I found glib passages to placate her despair. Quotations from this or that book in the bible, words of “wisdom” to salve her wounds and all the time feeling like a salesman endorsing his product! : ” Here, take a little of this, it’ll do you wonders!” or ; “Much more than Islam or Buddhism our product is guaranteed to ease the pain in your heart!” Mind you I wasn’t so cynical in my heart, I  wept for Stephania, but all those..those weak sounding platitudes! I mean,… the woman had lost a whole substance of her life and I was trying to fill it back up with Quasi intellectual gobbledygook, such are the incantations of religious doctrine…I no longer am spellbound by it’s “mystery”.

But there came a relief of two years in which she was spared further trauma. Sometimes we look back on such peaceful times wishing we could imprison these moments for eternity in a frame to hang on the wall, and gazing on that tranquility say; ” Ahh! such peace, I remember it well!”

Ah! such a day it was when I was returning from Fragneto. The priest there had fallen ill with a flu so I stood in for him those two weeks. I would shift their Sunday service back a half hour and ours forward the same so as to accommodate both congregations with minimal disruption. It was a clear, cold spring day, early in the season with still quite large patches of snow capping the hill tops. The village was not far away so I walked the distance.

Yes! a clear spring day, the wind crisp and fresh over the thawing earth. My breath frosted in the air as I exhaled and my eyes stung a little as I gazed from the crest of the hill down the crevassed valley to the rising blue hills of Campangolo in the south. I could see for miles and miles! And wasn’t it a lovely sight,….bello!

Just as I reached the high point at the top of the village, the bells of my church started ringing .”Ah! good”,I thought,”Young Tomaso can be relied upon at least”. and I was in very good spirits as I descended the slope to the presbytery. I had not been back but five minutes when Stefania’s husband; Bertolo, rushes in all flustered and dropped his bombshell!

“Oh Padre, you must come quickly, our daughter, Elvira, she is dying with the scarlet fever, you must come quickly”. He stood there like most of these poor peasants, with his floppy cap crushed in his club-like hands.

“But wait there Bertolo, two days ago you said all she had was a cold, a small cough.” I was indeed doubtful.

“Ahh! we thought too padre we thought too! Oh! sacred heart of Jesus! if only that was so but then the vomiting, the fever so we call in the dottore this morning and he confirms it ….Oh blessed saints what wrath have we awoke in our poor family! please padre ,come quickly”.

I don’t think I need go into the details of the child’s death, I..I do not like to dwell on it myself, another round of futile incantations, incense ,holy water and prayers to a deity as distant as Zeus! Oh we laugh at the pagan worshipers of old and their ridiculous offerings to those impotent gods of theirs! we laugh! …but., here in the twentieth century, I have to ask: Are our gods greater? or are we moderns merely slaves to the same illusive desires and frustrations? I, at least, have leaned the answer!

Back then, however, I was still in awe of the “power” of the church. As though the theatre of my “sacred performances” would make all diseases and tragedy vapourise with the swirling incense! I supplicated their tears, but could not stay my own. I rebirthed their belief in the faith, but my own doubts grew! Indeed, Stephanias’ wide eyed helplessness made my speech falter till at the sight of her my set pieces of religious diatribe came jumbled or completely stuck in my throat and I had to go away from her lest I fall completely there and then! You see, though I was seriously beginning to doubt, I still retained the security of those years of indoctrination that bolstered my flagging faith! Her courage stood where mine (in the face of tragic reality) failed.

Still she would come to the church and place a candle at the foot of the Virgin Mother. Still she would ask me for forgiveness from some sin of the past. A sin!…a sin’  my heart wept at her wretched pleas to god for forgiveness from what? for what? How, how, how! I began to realise there was nothing I could say nor do that would have the slightest effect on her or anyone else’s fates in that village still she would come pattering down the aisle of an evening and catch me unawares as I was about my duties and make me jump! Then I would guiltily light a candle for her and bustle about her, helping with a cushion to kneel on, holding her elbow to assist etc. in short just fumbling about when all the while I wished to throw my arms up in surrender to futility.

So it came to be that I could pick her footsteps out subconsciously and not be caught unawares, this way at least I had a moment to prepare myself to face her again. You see now?….She was the nemesis of my faith! Then came the accident with little Paulo. It finished her! it finished me! It has finished two thousand years of demagoguery!

I was standing at the church doors when I heard the news of Paulo’s death. I nearly fainted on the spot! I started trembling all over as if in a fever. I put my hands over my entire face and turned and ran inside the church as a desperate man would to his executioner to throw himself on his knees to beg mercy!  I ran, yes, ran down that isle toward the altar, toward the holy tabernacle and at the altar rail fell to my knees in despair!…

“Dio,.. Dio”..I cried, then a soft whisper; “Dio..”; the only words I could get out.What could I say? What could I ask?….” I’m only a parish priest, I’m only human . I can’t give anymore strength to that woman, I have none to give! Oh god! why oh why, what is the need of such torture?….Madonna,..blessed Madonna Mother of Christ!” I beseeched, yet speechless for more words,..what could I ask ….only a parish priest,..only human!…I wept..I wept…that poor woman,..that poor woman! My head bowed touching the altar rail as I pleaded to….to…to whom?!

Then in the hollow emptyness of the church I became aware of her soft footsteps approaching down the aisle. I knew it was her, I dreaded that sound, so now it magnified in my mind a thousand fold! Echoing about the walls up to the vaulted ceiling. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up so. The footfalls stopped but I could not turn….in horror of the pity I felt, I could not face that woman, that mother, so I just knelt there trembling.

“Father?”… she croaked breathlessly. “A candle for the Madonna,…please ,Father one small candle for my Paulo? a candle Father?” her voice faltering, yet firm.

I turned slowly..holy mother of Christ..holy mother of all children!…have mercy, have pity,..on me as much as her have pity,…what comfort for such a wretched soul could I give?…only a priest only a man..five children mother of Christ five children….! I grasped the altar rail lest I fell and she held out her hand with a few pitiful coppers in it,..appealing;

“A candle Father, I must put a candle at the feet of the blessed virgin for my Paulo”, and she moved mesmerised over to the statue of the Madonna.

I stood speechless. She placed a bundle of rags she was carrying on the floor and took a small candle from the box, this she lit and placed in the rack provided. She then knelt and kissed the feet of the Madonna, genuflected as she rose then turned to go. I picked up the bundle of rags she had left at the feet of the statue and touched her arm gently.

“Signora Marzetti,” I crooned “These are yours”. She turned, looked at the bundle, then gently took it from my arms and once more turned to go.

“Where are you going, Stephania?” I asked gently.

She looked deep into my eyes, yet hers were vague, unseeing, blank!

“I am going to my mother’s.” she softly spoke.

“But…but, Signora,…your mother is dead,…these ten years.” She looked a little fazed, hesitated, then smiled beautifully at me.

“Oh no Father, I am going to my mother’s….She is looking after the children, I will go and bring them home “.. she turned, paused, then stroked the bundle of rags, “I have their clothes “. She spoke softly, I held out my arms to her as if to help….how!…how?…she had lost her mind now.

Her husband, Bertolo, was suddenly there supporting her, with his hands all dirty and hard from the fields and his cap crushed into his top pocket his craggy cheeks furrowed with tears..

“It’s alright Father,….I’ll take her home, it’s alright.” and he half bowed half nodded as he steered her down the aisle to the group of friends clustered at the nave door. They parted as he approached then swallowed them into their midst. I was left alone in the church still with arms outstretched, gaping in mute despair, the echo of the closing door boomed drum like in accompaniment to my heart. I came around and turned to the statue of the Madonna, the one little candle burning at her feet. I felt hopeless, useless!

I giggled,”A candle Madonna, ” I smiled weakly, “A candle for a child, a trade off from a poor mother to the mother of a poorer Christ  but, there were five children, my Lady,..here, take five candles!….forgive us humans our feeble gestures of worship…” I laughed at the silliness..” No!..wait here take a dozen more, a dozen candles for a dozen children….ha!…wait a minute, why skimp,.. take a hundred,…all our life blood for you ; Mother of Christ a sacrifice to God from us pitiful people!….a hundred children,..a hundred candles!” and as I tippled the candles over the sand tray,I laughed at the absurdity of it all. Then I grew angry, I looked down at my garments, the surplice with that smell of incense permeated through it, once so comforting to me with its spice-like aroma, I now found disgusting, so I flung it off to the floor, likewise my cassock, then darting to the presbytery, I changed into street clothes and ran desperately away, away from the hopeless shame, the tawdry sham of my life I ran, I ran, I ran…

Till here I am in this cave, and now all the hate and disgust has abated, I shall abandon all the pretexts of my holy office and accept my place as a man amongst my people….

Listen!..The bells of San Georgio ringing out across the valley, crisp and clear in the rising air. I wish for a modicum of their confidence. Indeed their peals shout of glory, of happiness in the new day! Just as a bird sings after the storm ,even from the remnants of it’s destroyed nest.. I have little of such religious feelings left, I was a hypocrite, a liar to have ever stood before my people and purported to “guide” them….Yet!…though I would disown my religion, I would never abandon my humanity,…on the contrary, I embrace it!…Ah! and it is as such that I will serve , No more casting out demons and other hocus pocus, I will redress my wrongs before my fellow men, I will go back now, I will go home.

Received Pronunciation – Received Propaganda.

Sir Robert Menzies (@MenziesPM) | Twitter
Sir Robert Menzies..Prime Minister of Australia 1949 – 1966.

You’d be right to ask what radio broadcasters, Cambridge Analytica, Lord Haw Haw and “received pronunciation” all had in common and perhaps be not a little surprised if I tell you it was to win political approval and/or elections.

“Received Pronunciation”…now, I have been around for a good many years, but I had never heard that expression before…perhaps, although it is no secret code or anything, it is an expression more familiar within the circles of radio broadcasting and English language pronunciation..being once the “preferred accent” for radio broadcasting on both the BBC and our own ABC. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Received_Pronunciation . One such popular program presenter..: Arch McKirdy went on to become a voice trainer and mentor to many well-known presenters on the ABC..:

“ McKirdy became a voice teacher and mentor to many ABC presenters, including Norman Swan, Margaret Throsby, Geraldine Doogue and Fran Kelly, teaching them not only how to speak with the received pronunciation of standard English but how to speak naturally “in groups of words, breathing and pausing naturally” and speak to their audience as if they were talking to a personal friend.” (Wikipedia).

Which brings us to Lord Haw Haw and his Nazi propaganda broadcasts in WW2..: “ Joseph Goebbels, German propaganda minister, called the radio the “eighth great power”, noting the influence of radio in promoting the Third Reich. Goebbels approved a mandate in which millions of cheap radio sets were subsidized by the government and distributed to citizens (Oh dear!…shades of school computers? ). Germans also delivered their messages to occupied territories and enemy states. One of their main targets was the United Kingdom where William Joyce (Lord Haw-Haw) regularly broadcasted. In the United States, there were Robert Henry Best and Mildred Gillars (Axis Sally).” (Wikipedia). Of course, the tone and accent of the voice the Irishman William Joyce (aka; Lord Haw Haw) used was pure “received pronunciation… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yI3IjZ5Ut9g .

“For he (Lord Haw Haw) was something new in the history of the world. Never before had people known the voice of one they had never seen as well as if he had been a husband or brother or close friend….and there was a rasping yet rich quality about his voice which made it difficult to not go on listening, and he was nearly convincing in his assurance. . . “ (Rebecca West : “The Meaning of Treason”

For this is the “secret” of propaganda…that it is done with a tonal quality of voice so reassuringly familiar to the listener so that the natural suspicions that come with botched pronunciation that tells us the approximate birth-nation of the speaker and creates instant caution to any truth in their words…after all, haven’t we all been warned to be wary of “the stranger”?…so along with the attachment to the comforting accent of spoken word, comes the added security (at least for the broadcaster) of anonymity..for how could one be expected to have confidence in a person that was not of at least one’s own “skin”…be it colour, definition of form and /or familiar characteristic gesticulations.

Which continues our journey into the known with that nefarious group named “Cambridge Analytica” and this delving into the propaganda importance of anonymity.

In an age of social media, where one’s name and face can be projected as one desires over many platforms of social connection, so it would seem that anonymity is the last thing on most people’s mind..yet here was this group gathering personal information from people’s social media pages and anonymously collating profiles on millions to use as a propaganda disinformation tool in elections…AND itself choosing to be ABSOLUTELY anonymous in its activities. So we have to ask the question as to whom benefited from their activities?..and the names of several right-wing govt’s leap off the page.

So why all this use of such tools of propaganda by what seems exclusively – in the West – right-wing political parties?..after all, was not the original plummy accent of “received propaganda” derived from the talk of a very low percentage of English speakers of the Aristocracy…a now defunct demographic of social privilege?…and why did it make it’s way to Australia to be used as preferred-speak on our radio broadcasts and if memory serves me well, it just happens that Sir Robert Menzies used that same tonal quality, if with the homely touch of Aust’ vernacular in his radio broadcasts..: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9NHrVlLzxE ..I suspect the use of “received pronunciation” as the base familiarity for the broadcast of false, misleading and demoralising news and information, along with the anonymity ( no facial identification alongside the voice) when broadcasting allows the use of such propaganda tools to have maximum effect when wanting to persuade or at least confuse the listeners to bring them around to one’s particular point of view without the intruding identification of facial expression, colour or any other distraction..and I would claim that broadcasters like John Laws and Alan Jones would have had  much shorter careers had they been on public television rather than behind the security of the radio microphone..after all, does not “familiarity breed contempt”?

After all, how many times have YOU been frustrated and flummoxed when trying to convince  close friend or relative of a fact in conversation and they refuse to believe you and you hear yourself shouting or at least pleading in a plaintive voice all to no avail?…something you rarely if ever hear from a trained speaker of “received pronunciation” and THOSE speakers seem all the more convincing for it!

So when we hear of such and such a politician or their party maintaining their popularity with the voting public of certain demographics, think NOT on so much as what is detrimental about their policies or person, but rather on the dulcet tones the few favourable things that they deliver to the populace is served across airwave and social media platform in the shape of that familiar voice that. . .:

“. . . Never before had people known the voice of one they had never seen as well as if he had been a husband or brother or close friend….and there was a rasping yet rich quality about his voice which made it difficult to not go on listening, and he was nearly convincing in his assurance. . . “

Or :

“. . . teaching them not only how to speak with the received pronunciation of standard English but how to speak naturally “in groups of words, breathing and pausing naturally” and speak to their audience as if they were talking to a personal friend.”

The Last Lingering Kiss.

Image result for Romantic pulp fiction books pics.

I was told this little episode of life in the hushed tones of scandal by a nun I once knew many years ago…I thought it was one of the most tragic things in the everyday work-world that I had ever heard…

It went like this..:

The Last Lingering Kiss.

“ I can’t stop now!” she gasped a passionate moan as her arms reached for him..”I’ve desired you for too many nights.”

He responded huskily, his taut, muscular arms embracing her and driving out all resistance. It was as if some strange, torrid tempest had suddenly descended down on to their bodies as they struggled to out-do one another in the removal of their clothing. He grasped her in his arms and lifted her clear of the carpet, his lips parted and he moaned as he buried his face in her soft, ample, velvet-like breasts.

“Ohh. Brendon !”,she cried, surrendering her body to his firm, impatient, maleness.”Hold me”, she quivered.

“You’re trembling”, he whispered… ”

Sergeant Tom Flannigan closed the book with a wince and a sad hiss of breath. Distracted by a sudden rising of the wind in the mallee trees outside, he gazed in silent contemplation at raindrops streaking against the window.

“Right on time,” he mumbled to himself. He was referring to those first good rains of the season. ”Tim’ll be glad he finished seedin’ this mornin’ “.

His gaze moved from the window back to the book on the desk in front of him. He picked it up wearily and slipped it into an opaque, plastic bag that contained five similar paperbacks. He then folded the top over and sealed it with three staples and labeled it :

Evidence….stolen property, Crown v’s accused : Sr. Mary Margaret : Principal / Teacher ; St Joseph’s School, West Waylong…Victoria ..Age : 43 yrs.

Tom Flannigan read back over the label, he snorted when he came to Sr. Mary Margaret’s status in this small country town and spoke out loud..;

“Principal, teacher, Also ; lay missionary, August leader of the Sunday prayers, choir organizer / lead singer, dishwasher, cook, cleaner ,bottle washer, big mother to all the god fearing god hating lonely poor beaten, broken down and out bastards between Bourke and bloody Booleroo Centre….the “ear” to the community..God have pity on her.”

He rose and with an angry tug on a hanging string, extinguished the light. The police station at West Waylong was a residential, so the distance between work and home was the thickness of a door jamb.

Tom Flannigan was one of those few who could leave their work worries behind them at closing time, besides, Tom had his own worries, for several days now, he had put off writing a reply to his fiancé, not for nothing to write about, but rather, (as she had complained of a “cold, distant feel ” in his correspondence),because of a forlorn search for a more passionate wording of his feelings toward her in his letters.

Although this was the second time around in the marriage game for Tom, it was no easier for him to overcome that word-block of emotional and verbal commitment demanded by women from their suitors! Tom scratched behind his ear as he jiggled the eggs and bacon in the pan..; what to say, what to say;

“I do love you Beth’ with all my heart!” he mumbled such clumsy sentences to himself as he completed cooking his evening meal and crossed to the table. He placed the plate on the table, and after a moments hesitation , decided that the eggs and bacon needed a bit of a “lift”…he took a small tin of baked beans from a cupboard and added it’s contents to the bacon and eggs, speaking theatrically as he did so…

“Your eyes are like the moon,.(a gesture with the hand) your lips are as cherries nah! …your lips are as…as that girl on the toothpaste ad’ nah!”

So you can see, Tom. Flannigan had his mind full of that awful doubt that trips and tangles the lovelorn. Added to this was the fact that his future bride had no intention of ever…ever living in such a distant , lonely town like West Waylong! ….

So he had no thought to ponder on why a respectable, well-educated person like Sr. Mary Margaret would steal tacky romances of pulp-fiction. There were laws in place to govern the prosecution of criminal actions and his was the task to follow those laws through.

Rule# 1 : Never confuse the laws of state with the laws of sentiment. In the morning ,Tom Flannigan would transpose the interview he had with Sr. Margaret from tape to document and pass it on to headquarters for its consideration. As far as he was concerned ; the end of the story….

” Interview with Sr. Mary Margaret… 12th August 19….

Accused of stealing six paperback novels from the “Criterion Book Shop” Main Street , West Waylong ..

Present .Sgt Thomas Flannigan.. Fr. Dennis McCarthy ..Sr. Mary Margaret

Questioning..: Sgt Flannigan..:

I ask: “Were you in the Criterion Book Shop last Friday afternoon?”

Fr. McCarthy. “You answer the questions as best you feel ,Sister.”

Sr. Margaret. “Thank you for that valuable advice Dennis,….to your question , Sgt, : Yes, I was there.”

I ask. “While you were there, did you pick up this book? ( shown paperback).title: “The Last Lingering Kiss”?

Sr. M. “Yes, I did.”

I ask. “You were then seen to place this book in your bag and walk out of the shop….Did you deliberately intend to steal it?”

Fr. McC. “Now Sister, keep in mind you have not yet been charged with any misdemeanor. so you don’t…Sgt, (He confided) I’ve had a call from Monsignor, He has suggested, not without a considerable amount of thought on the subject… keeping in mind the age of Sister and that troubling time of life for women of that age, maybe (he glances to Sr. M.) a touch of kleptomania brought on by the stress of menopause?”

I ask. “Do you wish to comment on that, Sr.?”

Sr. M. “I’d rather retain what little dignity I have left than to respond to ..to Monsignor’s …er, suggestion.” (she crosses hands on top of desk).

I ask. “Then I’ll ask again….did you intend to steal the book?”

Sr. M. (silence…turns eyes askance, blushes…then looks directly at me)”Yes.”

Fr. McC. (groans).

I ask. “These other books were voluntarily given in by you….did you intend to steal these also?”

Sr. M. (breathes deeply)”Yes sergeant, I did.”

Fr. McC. “Why Sister, Why?”

Sr. M. “Because Dennis , of a reason I very much doubt you would understand! neither you nor the Monsignor!”

Fr. McC. “It goes beyond all rational thought, Sister, that you, in particular, could have the slightest interest in these…these trashy productions!”

I ask: “Fr. McCarthy, I am at this time trying to establish the plea of the accused, I am not looking for whys and wherefores…Do you Sr. Margaret, admit to the theft of the aforementioned books?”

Sr. M. (Takes a deep breath)”Yes, Sergeant ,I do.”

Fr. McC. “You do realise, Sister, where this places us, the church, in the eyes of the community?”

Sr. M. (heatedly)” Oh damn the community!….( Fr. McCarthy leaps to his feet) and damn you Dennis and damn the Monsignor and double damn the damn Church!”

Fr. McC. “Are you gone mad ,Sister, are you mad?”(I grasp Fr. McCarthy by the arm and sit him back down).

I ask. “I must ask you , Fr. to restrain yourself, you are here only as a supporting representative of the diocese so please restrict your comments to that role….and I remind you, Sister, that all you say can and will be considered as evidence…”

Sr. M. ”Oh shut up Tom!…(She stands with fists pressed on table )and you Dennis!….both of you….shut up!…Are you blind? can’t you see we are all of us here in the same situation? (Fr. McC and I remain silent)..All obliged to serve an institution….an unforgiving, blind institution!…and..and a so called infernal “COMMUNITY!” that denies us any right to a life of our own..no!, don’t you interrupt me Tom Flannigan, I know all about your last marriage, you lost that because of the hours you spent on the job rather than with your family. The police force demanded it. The community demanded it  and you ,Dennis, how many more years before the bottle claims your soul?…ah! don’t deny it, I know you only too well.. it’s written all through your eyes.. and those “Holidays” to dry out down by the coast..We’re all three of us damned to play a set-piece for the Community, the Law and the Church. (she sits wearily down)…Oh how I longed desperately to be able to go home at night sometimes to children of my own…a man! …of my own, be him hopeless, be him ugly , but be him human…just human… rather than the dried out wafflings of the writings of a “holy book”!…(she pauses, stares blankly ahead, speaks quietly, slowly) do you have any idea how empty a sound, is the parched, crisp, turning of the pages of a prayer book in the quiet of an evening always alone?
The three of us have committed social crimes here, only my crime is more visible….I haven’t neglected a family, nor tippled with the altar-wine…I am guilty of a crime of passion….I have tried to steal a modicum of illusion of fantasy….of lust with a man.”

(there is a moments silence as we gathered our thoughts)

Fr. McC. “But why steal the books? Why didn’t you just buy them?”.

I ask: ” Yes Sister, why did you steal them?”.

Sr. M. (sighs, leans back in the chair )”Looking back on it, I could say I don’t know..the first one was an accident…I slipped it into my bag absent mindedly as I picked up another thing I wanted to buy…but when I discovered the error later, I stayed silent..why?..; a kleptomaniac impulse….a thrill? no, not a thrill I think rather, it was a part of the desire, to steal a moment of lust, an integral component of the hunger…a hunger for the love I did not have…I believe as we grow from the child to the adult, each of us seeks that love..that particular love, most denied…perhaps we are all assigned a set amount of little crimes in this life…alongside our everyday duties, little grubby crimes, along with the humdrum of responsibility and rules..and when we step outside of that regular pattern into the more shady area of our deeds, we must accept a completely different set of rules..”Oh what wicked webs we weave…”(a bitter laugh)….I fought with myself for years against the desires…like you, Dennis with the bottle..and you Tom with the duties of the police officer in a little country town but when can one stop?…can one stave off forever the natural impulse to drop the facade of religion. of law and order?…some can…I couldn’t…anymore…I desired a passionate embrace from a man (she leans forward over the table and speaks slowly)Gentlemen,…I too, wanted a moment of being desired!..how I envied Magdalene her Christ.. and these trashy books were as close as I was going to come to it in this God-forsaken place!…in this God-forsaken church in my own human forsaken life!”

(The three of us sit silently staring ).

Interview terminated….

Nine days later.

Tom Flannigan glanced up from his desk in the office to meet the eyes of Sister Mary Margaret. He stood to receive her proffered hand. She was leaving the district.

“Just to say cheerio, Tom…and wish you luck.”

“Thanks sister…thank you and yourself.” he fumbled with the biro in his hand ,then dropped it casually on the table. “What…what will happen to you?” he asked

The nun laughed softly,

“Oh,…it’s a big institution; the church…I’ll be swallowed up in it somewhere after a little penance….I’ll become anonymous once again.. slowly ,I trust, the desire for the human touch will be “cleansed” from my soul.. like Dennis’s liver..( another chuckle)….and you ,Tom.?”

“Me!…oh, I’ll just….just carry on as usual I ‘spose.. hmm…. look, Sister, I know they are going to prosecute this case in the city, so I won’t be seeing you again….I want you to know that I erased that last part of the interview the three of us had I didn’t see it as relevant to the case and I don’t suppose it would have interested the people at headquarters ”

“Yes, I expect you are right, Tom, there are some aspects of the lives of our community leaders that are best left in illusion (she chuckled again)..a bit like a trashy romance.”

“Well,Tom, goodbye.”

“Cheerio, Sister, cheerio.”

Neoliberal Nihilism.

Image result for Pic of Milton friedman meeting margaret thatcher.

For anyone to blurt out : “There is no such thing as society”, is to admit to a cynicism on the path to nihilism.. But for a National Prime Minister to put such into words with a rider of attempted soft-soaping her belief like Margaret Thatcher did..

” And, you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families. And no governments can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first.”

Is to flag intention to de-construct all those social frameworks put in place to stabilise a society for the collective good of humanity…To deconstruct it for the benefit of neoliberal, free-market opportunists. To destabilise and demoralise her own peoples for nothing more that a laissez faire capitalist economy, that will benefit the few percentage who can network to plunder the nations peoples and resources.

The economic rationalism of most western countries is nothing more than an expression of the cynical nihilism of that class of Right-wing people running those nations…From Europe/ The UK to the USA to Australia and now many Asian nations, the infection of nihilistic cynicism has taken hold on the perception that only free-market economics can lift the people out of poverty. A delusion of stratospheric immensity.. for how can the poor shrug off the burden of debt when it is their corporate inflicted indebtedness that is the very foundation of the vulgar wealth of those who promote such a philosophy?

How can the labourer get ahead when the master demands he cart more bags of produce on his already burdened shoulders, with the promise that the master will grow his business through the labourer’s hard work and thereby give the worker more work and so by percentage increase his earnings from his more work?…Does not the labourer have a limit to the capacity he can continue to work?…does not a person have a limit to the hours they can work in a day, a week..a month, a year?…Yes, but then, that labourer can draw on HIS assets to increase his output and thereby increase his earnings..yes! he can put his spouse and his children to work…a whole family then being “supported” by the “innovativeness” of the Master and Capital…Indeed, there will then be no such a thing as society..there will in effect be only slavery!

This false philosophy of neoliberal nihilism has to end…not just because it drags whole sections of a population into poverty, but because it spreads through contagion the false belief that even the impoverished individual has command of his economic destiny through his own entrepreneurial speculation. I have yet to meet a worker who has built a corporate dynasty through only his own work with his one pair of hands..the employment of other workers at a percentage rate that enriches the employer through their labour is a trait of barbarism inherent from the days of archaic militarism, where a King will employ troops to guard his person, his claimed kingdom and his plundered wealth.

There is very little difference in the attitude of the Corporate Fascism of these times. The raw wealth of such organisations reaches far beyond the bank accounts of their shareholders, it reaches right into the guts of Conservative governments..it’s well-oiled fingers buying the favour of individual politicians in strategic portfolios to allow plunder and rapine of a nation’s commodities and peoples.

The Corporate Fascism of these times is legitimised through the age old system of selective and elite Private school education, they are playing the “long game”, where the principles of neoliberal nihilism is inculcated into the tender minds of their wards so that at the time of graduation, a whole generation of “the enlightened” are released into the community with little intuition of human destiny, no residual knowledge of human history and very little concern for any but their own and their class enrichment! Theirs is a world of great self-belief and NO faith in the collective belief of humanity.. In their world, there is only their corporate class and losers..theirs is the distorted motto attributed to  P.T.Barnum : “There’s a sucker born every minute” (in actual fact appropriately first said by a banker)…of course, excluding themselves from that demographic!

Time to pull the plug on this neoliberal nihilistic destruction…it has failed to lift the poor from poverty and instead, it has created a new demographic of the “working poor” a conclusion inevitable from my explanation of the hard-working labourer above. The worker can only lift themselves out of poverty if his wages are sufficient to cover his everyday needs and have a little left over to build the prospects of his family..but when private corporations gain control of the basic utilities needed in that living, like water, electricity, communications and health..and proceed to wring more and more profit from what should be a public service, and yet then use their corporate wealth to corrupt and bribe political representatives to restrict regulation on their criminal activities, then you have a totally corrupt and totally nihilistic governing class…neither fit to hold corporate responsibility nor morally and ethically fit to hold public office!

Australia now is in the clutches of both those infections..and like a bacteria that is immune to anti-biotics, it ravages the body social in its drive to prove Margaret Thatcher’s brutalist pusilamity that in HER pathetic wrenching of power : “There is no such thing as society”…well, she is wrong…the neoliberal economists are wrong..the free-market acolytes are wrong…and their prophets of nihilism are mistaken, because there is in the heart of humanity a greater want than mere money..wretched mammon…Because in the heart of humanity there is a great room that can fit ANY AMOUNT of fellow humans into it and they have mutual needs and the one fantastic and unassailable desire…

The desire for respect and love.

And Neoliberal nihilism has neither weapon nor courage to destroy it.

Rather, it is time to arise one and all and destroy neoliberal nihilism!

Down the Aisle.

Your shopping correspondent’s report..

With Ambrose Quint.

#1

Happy specials, shoppers!

Was greeted as I came through the shopping mall doors by a shopping trolley with comparable prices sign advertising that the same trolley-full of products at THIS centre would cost the shopper approx. $40.00 less!…”Check this out shoppers!”…There was a lady at the information desk nearby where the security chain from the trolley ended and I asked if the cost difference included the shoplifting fine?….. she laughed and laughed…

But it’s true..shoplifting is a grave concern..and so many funny things get stolen, I was told..but the lady wouldn’t go into details..I remarked that I suppose the usual slithy toves and wippowills are the things most baffling..she said that she was not familiar with THOSE products..

One thing that I did discuss with the woman at the desk that was of concern to me, and OUGHT to be to the management was ..: “The Displacer”…you know..that mysterious person or persons who take..oh, say..a snack-bar from that section and will slip in with the plastic containers in another section…displacing it.

I have my suspicions about these people..and I shared them with the wide eyed information officer..woke her up to a conspiracy, I shouldn’t wonder..We can expect to hear more on this subject from the management.

What happens with these displacers, in my opinion, is that it is NOT a haphazard operation by either older forgetful shoppers or harassed parents snatching unwanted items from light-fingered kids and replacing them back on a shelf…No..this is an organised affair by a sophisticated group of people..a club..if you like.

Here’s how it works..:

A member is selected to “compete” in a weekly or monthly event, where they are judged on the number, quality and deviousness of their displacement..They wander innocently up and down the aisles while they “do their business”..an “approved” judge follows unobtrusively behind, marking points for or against the displacer according to the aforementioned criteria..for instance..10 points (the max’) could be awarded for displacing a tub of yoghurt amongst the frozen fish products..(a daring performance!) whereas only 3 points for the muesli bar being dumped among the bread-rack..(a limp-wristed attempt!)…some points, I suspect, would be deducted if a “competitor” fumbles, is noticed or drops the displacing article in the course of the action..And the person with the most points at the end of the test period gets to wear the official fluro-vest and is saluted with free libations at the clubroom happy-hour drinks night…I should imagine.

Having told this theory in great detail to the lady at the information desk, I was assured that there could soon be someone wishing to speak to me about my “interesting theories”…So I am now awaiting for a couple of tallish blokes in white coats that should be here any minute..ah! there they are..!

“Yoo hoo!..chaps over here! ..I’m the bloke you’ll be wanting to talk to…I say..this’ll be jolly!…have I got something of interest to tell you!”

So having to now go…till next time shoppers. . .

#2.

Down the Aisle..

Your shopping correspondent.

Happy specials, shoppers!

I see how they do it now..those cunning shelf planners in the supermarkets…How they do product placement in such a way, with the colour-coordination of similar shaped products with their labels all lined up at eye-level and the shiny, bright, flickering labels catching your eye like it does…combined with a cunning and devious use of the fluro lighting from above..A walk down the aisle of the supermarket can be as mesmerising as a hypnotist’s swinging fob-watch!

You become mesmerised by the shiny packaging and the glinting light of the fluros off them so that you cannot even see the product you first set out to buy even when you are standing right in front of the bloody things!!….I mean..THERE THEY ARE!..staring you in the face but you can’t see them because you have just been hypnotised by the continuing stream of another product mesmerising your mind and now instead of purchasing those cotton-wool buds you came down the chemist products aisle to get, you find you have an almost insatiable urge to buy and instantly consume two dozen economy sized boxes of “choco flavoured laxettes”!

Another trick they get you on is the smell-factor…: You’ve been at the shopping for nearly an hour now and the old tummy suddenly starts churning and pushing the “hungreeee” button, just as you reach the cheese counter then on your way past the cooked chicken display…and you can just bet they have some sort of tricky fan there stoked with an msg enhancing chicken scent wafting out over the aisle and creating a olfactory riot amongst the dieting young first-time mothers who have just had babies and are trying to get the bod’ back into shape so they can squeeze back into that size 12 swimsuit they used to fit…it’s cruel..

But if you reckon the health/medical supplies aisle is bad, you wait till you hit the lollies and chocolate dept’!…It’s no accident they have that glinty cellophane wrapper on the lollies..all tumbling out of those little “self-help” boxes like pixies and elves just wanting to frolic about on your taste-buds and help pile on those pounds! …and the chocolate blocks with that golden sheen stroking your vision like a demented Barbara Eden in “I dream of Jeannie”…and don’t tell me it’s just an electrical fault that the fluros flicker in just THAT aisle..so that the hypnotic “voices” calling you from the bars of “Old Gold”(70 % cocoa) , or the crispy wrapped “Mega Mix” of the Ferrero Rocher shelf is a relentless cooee to the ancient animal carnivore in us all crying ; “EAT THE FLESH!…EAT THE FLESH!” sending the more weak-willed chocoholics into a weeping frenzy..(I’ve see it, I tell you!!), tearing wildly at the wrapper and sinking their teeth deliciously and ravenously drooling into the “flesh” of thick hazelnut milk chocolate!!..Can we criticise them?..can we condemn them (I’m asking for a friend)…and, btw…the security personnel ought to show a degree more consideration as well and not just roughly throw them out on their ear!

Till next time…signing off…ouch! ; your shopping correspondent.

#3.

Down the Aisles.

Your shopping correspondent.

Happy specials, shoppers!

“ Work 8,  *  cast off 2 sts.,  work 8 (7) Sts.;  rep.  from * 3 times more (4 in all),  cast off 2 sts., work to end. “

Now some of you may recognise the above code, and no ; it is not derived from the German “Enigma” coding machine, but just a common knitting pattern from an old magazine..what they used to call ; “A woman’s magazine” back in the old days…There used to be similar magazines for men, I believe..but with different subject matter..but they must have also contained many tricky patterns as my big brother wouldn’t let me see his as he said I was too young to “comprehend” ..yes, that’s the word he used…I remember he stalled on that word..nodded and said ; “comprehend”… I used to see my mother index-finger under similar codes in her old “ Woman’s Day” mag’s when I was a child..and to this day I still cannot work the damn things out!

But you would see many mothers carry those decorated, hollowed tubes made of cellophane and cross-stitched wool around the top and bottom with a circular lid and they contained an endless supply of the latest knitting project that could be taken into the picture theatre or where-ever and set to work…One can remember that tense moment in “The Gunfight at the OK Corral” where Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas fight it out together…the clicking of the size 12 needles poised in mid-flight at the zenith of the action . . . then to continue in softer more emotional, gentle strokes for the love scenes with Rhonda Fleming…(here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5cZK_KtriM )..like the most sensitive touch of Buddy Rich caressing a kettle-drum with a “brush”.. a sort of suburban domestic accompaniment along with the highs and lows of the musical score of the film.

And it is much the same for those coded ingredients that one sees highlighted as a “SUPER ADDITIVE” on some products…like : “Now containing OMEGA 3!..FOR EXTRA VITALITY!!”…that sort of thing…and then you have something called the “Glycemic index” followed by a number that could or could not be “GREAT!!” ..and there is the ‘Glycemic Load” as well..there are others..One need not look far down the aisles to find them..secret ingredients or new “super-foods” just overflowing with coded letters and numbers that just ooze health and vitality..where once, the only coded label was the “V8 Tomato Juice” amongst the other juice bottles..The same sort of things can be found in “off-the-shelf” medicines in any chemist shop..it creates an air of cynical shopping experience I can tell you!

Talk about another sight that one is seeing much more of these days down the aisles..and that is the altering dress-code for the young, sartorial conscious men..

Have you, like myself, noticed the shocking new fashion for the post hipster era of young males in the socks department?…ghastly, multi-coloured things displayed by “flagging” trousers above the ankles!..or else those ankle-socks (I refuse to use the American spelling of : sox )that female tennis players use…or even worse…now brace yourselves fellow shoppers…: NO SOCKS!!…Can there be a more indecent sight than a male wearing patent-leather shoes and NO SOCKS ??…it grates on the psyche almost as much as the finger-nail down the blackboard!…one feels violated!

But one has to admit that the idea of one set fashion, be it cultural or couture, is not applicable these days of stretch lycra and trakky-daxs . put the two together and you got a Kardashian arse on a twiggy frame…not a pleasant sight for any male that still harbours any vestige of youthful memories of Annette Funicello or Gidget goes West!…how’s the song go?..; something about ;”. . . that which is lost upon the way…”…or something like that..and then there’s those loud, super bright glasses that hipsters and even some “just past middle-age” people like to wear..perhaps to draw attention to themselves..I know you can’t see anything else BUT those things when they are talking to you..some couples have matching pairs..sort of a “Kath and Kel” thing I suppose..is it a “metro-man” thing or just “unisex”…dunno…

Oh well..until next time, this is your shopping correspondent signing off..

(Ps; don’t forget to grab those saucepan coupons!)…

#4.

Down the Aisles

Your shopping correspondent.

Country Swap-meet special edition..

Happy specials, shoppers!

There are two noticeable things you can definitely claim about the boomer generation..They have singularly cemented the denim jean into its permanent place in history and they are positively the last generation that will, regardless of the weather, fearlessly (hu)man the stalls at these swap-meets.

The denim jean on the aged body of the ..particularly..male baby boomer serves as both a object of decorum and ridicule…decorum as it thankfully is the final, secure fragment of cloth between the public and the even more gross private and it is hoped that never the twain shall meet..at least not eye to eye..and we’ll leave it at that…ridicule , because by the time the boomer generation has reached a certain age, that slim, trim body that once could support a pair of hipsters denims with elan and style, along with the stud-belt, has lost much of its hips and the now gross distortions of a body wasted on bad diet and drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, cannot support much style and those marvellous denims have slipped to a depth of depravity that exposes those more fleshy portions of the body to too much cold air..particularly at this time of the year..the hipster jeans has descended to the crackster baggies!

And the second thing is; being about the last generation that actually has the know-how to fix things, those aged mechanics and handypersons hold on their stalls all the accoutrements of DiY dreamers..spanners, screwdrivers, electrical clips and calipers…but their clientele is fading..as the older patrons drop off to aged care home or Harley-Davidson Valhalla, there is none of the next generation to replace them..relying, as the gen X and Y tend to do on an App on their mobile phone to solve any number of problems…EXCEPT…how to tune the Holly-4 bbl-carburettor or adjust the “dizzy”…let alone re- install an “Edelbrock” hi-rise manifold..so if I were you, I’d get myself down to the next swap-meet near you and have a good look around at history in the breaking, because they have to be a dying species.

It became noticeable whilst one perused the different eras of the stall offerings, that music complimentary to the goods on sale was belted out from the intestines of Nissan van or trailer..For instance, where the items on the tables were deliberately of the “sixties”, you could tap your fingers to, say, the throaty voices of Dusty Springfield or Helen Shapiro..and if from the “eighties/nineties”, some sort of wailing ‘death-metal’ guitar and incomprehensible growling voice wafted from the van..and one had to wonder on there being so many old blokes with showing scalp through long, wispy grey hair and long wispy beards to match…like a live view of the blokes in ZZ Top …and the tatts’….why does everybody think they can improve on the human body with tatts’!!??…if the bod’ is gross, no amount of “inking” to the point of a full “body suit” is going to improve it..and what’s all this Lemmy Kilmister impersonation with the bent hat, hanging fag and cadaverous hairy face?…it didn’t look good on him and I cannot see any improvement with a “tribute band” impersonation…Adonis is the male measure of handsome..NOT Lemmy!

And the stuff on the stalls!!??….I thought  – I – had a shed or two full of the most strangest, valueless odds and sods…but man!!…

The truth being, I suspect, is that many of the stall-holders, with just a scattering of things for sale, do it just to get out of the house..to get some company..to meet people..and good luck to them..it’s gotta be better than Tinder!

Until next time, this is your shopping correspondent signing off.

#5.

Down the aisle..

your shopping correspondent.

Happy specials, shoppers!

They’re taking the mickey out on us, of course..by “us”, I mean us baby-boomers.. The good lady has the March edition of a cooking magazine open to the page showing a vegan pizza!…a vegan pizza do you mind..

“Oh well,” I reflect as I stir the proffered cup of “ginger zinger” tea..(I almost added milk!) “I suppose you could use the recipe there and just throw the salami on top as well to cheer it up”..

“It says to use “cauliflower mince” as the topping..” she read out.

“Cauliflower mince!!??” I exclaim…” WTF is cauliflower mince??” But of course it is a wasted protest..you see, we are both getting to that age where the medicinal diet is an imperative if you want to make 100 years with still a bit of lead in the pencil..and now it is only in sentimental daydreams of a wasted youth in Darwin that I can “taste” that “super-size” take-away meal of “Porky’s spare ribs” with side bag of chips and sauce, washed down with many cans of that gentle beer and a television replay of the “laugh a minute” “Father Knows Best”!…Ahh!,,they knew how to make sit-coms in those days.

I remember a past marriage when we were mixed up with an “alternative education group” and my then partner adopted what could best be called “alternative protein” foods with fanatical zeal, and tofu and tabouli was a fixed item on our weekly menu..Tabouli goes well with a nice cut of lamb..a nice juicy cut of lamb..NOT tofu..tofu goes well sitting in its plastic packaged wrap in the rack of the fridge door..and staying there until it goes green and you then chuck it out!.

It got to the stage where I would cunningly seek forewarning of such meals and stop off at a known small-town bakery on my way home from a hard day’s work and fill up on their renowned protein enriched pies and perhaps a macaroon or two..they had wonderful macaroons.

Needless to say, that marriage failed on the grounds of gastronomical cruelty.

But then when I was last at the mega shopping emporium, I had to park up the trolley while the good lady perused the selections of flours..besan, lupin, f#ckin’ spelt, buckwheat…is there a hemp flour?…because there oughta be!..there’s hemp everythin else!..: Hemp seeds, hemp oil, hemp protein..and I believe you can even get..wait for it!..: hemp beer!..it’s cruel, isn’t it!?..and of course there nothing you can do with the hemp except, I’ll bet, plonk it on some vegan pizzas or something..Though you can’t tell me some wide-eyed hop-head hasn’t bought a pack of seeds and tried to grow his own, just on the off chance. . .

Ah..I’ve just about had enough of it..all this growing old and healthy is about as bad as growing old and sober..there’s little to recommend it, it’s like that episode of “The Hollow Men” where the garrulous old politician flings the capers out of his sandwich..

“Why do they want to continually try to re-invent the f#ckin’ sandwich!!?”

I’d say the same with pizza..: “If it aint broke, DON’T f#ckin’ vegan it !! “

Until next “Super Wednesday” shopping experience…this is your correspondent signing off.

The Tancredi Dilemma.

Image result for The Leopard novel..pics.

Tancredi is a character in the Lampedusa novel (The Leopard) about the unification of Italy and the ending of aristocratic governance in Southern Italy … and it was this character who uttered that most famous of lines .. ; “For things to remain the same, everything must change.” … Of course, HE was referring to the aristocratic rulers inserting covert agents like himself into “democratic, middle-class government” so as to keep a hold on any revolutionary changes that would lessen the power (as much as possible) of the ruling class .. of which he was one.

The end of the nineteenth century saw the diminishing of aristocratic power in favour of the rising middle-class political base .. just like now, in the twenty-first century, we are seeing that now old/aged middle-class of high industry/banking losing ground to a rising aspirant/younger middle-class of brash technocrats and entrepreneurs, not necessarily savvy in the complex “rules” of patriarchal networks, military engagements and old-money finance, but more keen on flash finance, fast turnover and short, swift credit transfers based more on the theory of gambler’s luck than a book-keepers reliable ledger account.

Chance of a quick “killing” being the modus operandi of the next generation of players..welcome to the farcical, fragile “Gig-economy”!

And this is where the Tancredi Dilemma becomes interesting … for in the first instance above, the middle-classes that replaced the aristocrats were solid merchants, with investments in solid goods … products from the far east, trading ships and barges up and down the major rivers of the world .. the spices and silks .. the ivory and slaves, manchester and machinery formed the base of their massive accumulated wealth … they were well-placed to challenge the decadent aristocratic class for the top job of sovereign governance … all it took was a wave of the royal sword of knighthood to “legitimise” a swathe of the more wealthy or devious of the crew and they were cemented into the “network”.

Now, as this network gets old and decrepit in a generational sense, we see a new set of eyes peering through the glass darkly, hungry for a grab at that sovereign governance … but these new eyes are not as politically savvy as the old hands … not as patient to wait for the royal dab with the Wilkinson Sword of knighthood … these new kids on the block are brash, aggressive bastards who are breaking the panelled doors down with mace and sledge-hammer … vulgar is not strong enough a word to describe them … barbarian is closer to the truth .. the Visigoths at the gates of Rome ..

How is this new breed of “Bankers on Credit”, “Merchants of internet selling” going to manage the social structures needed to keep a society stable and conducive to good, predictable, long-term governance … in short … they cannot! …. Their failing at even the most simple social programs that we see falling to pieces around us as we go about our work, child-care, health, transport and play demonstrates a cabal of wannaby “leaders” who couldn’t lead a blind man down a wide, empty boulevard without tripping on every slight obstacle in their path .. they themselves being blind and ignorant beyond comprehension.

Since the end of the generations that saw Keating pass the baton to Howard, who in his own mean-spirited way did a “Tiberius” and prepared a “Satyr” for the people of Australia with his paving the way for a far right infection into the LNP that even HE couldn’t see the damage he was inflicting, there has been an endless stream of younger blunt-weaponised LNP members fumbling around The House and the authorities, corrupting without thought on the consequences, every authority, every bureaucracy and oversight office so that now we have no confidence .. and rightly so! … in any judgement brought down on any investigation of possible departmental fraud or high political office corruption … the individualistic operations of many members of the parliament to feather their own nests or those of their backers has totally corrupted the system … so that even our voting system, once the yardstick of safe, secure and fair elections copied around the world, is now tainted with an air of doubt .. if not absolute distrust and scorn!

Even those of us on the left of politics have had to watch unbelieving as we see our representatives go to water in the face of right-wing wedging and bluff … their fear of a MSMedia attack on their persons driving them to shelter and hide .. Their now plump and shiny selves, from the largesse of many years in office losing that “lean and hungry look” so necessary in a political animal needed to shift the corpulent carcass of LNP dead-weights so welded to their seats.

And what of the so-called base of left-wing supporters of the socialist side of politics?…THOSE “finishing-school financiers” have now embraced the infantile “soft-cuddly” political toy of “identity politics”…giving them a safe-harbour platform to speciously condemn or cancel out the more broader political ideals that would assist in the preferred party of the left gaining office…their screeching for “a fair go” for their preferred political/social flavour of the month drowning out or successfully wedging all other reasoned claims for a hearing, so that in the end there is little more than a cohort-grumble of multi-topic discontent to combat an onslaught, come an election, of right-wing, singular-targetted propaganda.

The Tancredi Dilemma is needed again to have the middle-class burn some of its own … be that middle-class of the left or the right, they have to waste some of the dead-wood and decrepit stooges laying like rotting logs across the path … The new aspirants of responsible/reliable IT techies, semi-professionals and self-employed tradies have to wade into the fray and with metaphorical laser, scalpel and hammer carve and smash away those who would never want change … and it has to be done soon and with extreme prejudice before we all burn in our beds from a destroyed environment!

For things to remain the same … ie; the “ruling bodies” to hold position of power in the parliament with orthodox structures securing their authority … everything must now change .. just as Rome had to fall so that Europe could rise,the dinosaurs in our politics must “die”.

To “Change the rules”…We must change the ruling class.

Aunty.

Related image

I worked for some years with several Greek families, so I got to know them quite well..One doesn’t get regular work with some  people unless they trust you..it’s funny that way. I got to know the teller of this story quite well over a few years. It happened so many years ago now . He told it to me and now I will pass it on to you …

It went like this :

Aunty.

“Kyrie eleison!” Aunty gasped wearily,”So help me God, you’ll be the death of me, Yani !”

“YANI!” mama caught hold of my ear and twisted it cruelly, “What do you mean by giving cheek to Aunty, have you no respect?”

“Ahh! leave off the child Elene, its not his fault, you can’t expect more from a healthy boy, its just these old bones are not up to catching him no more…or I’d deal with him myself!”

“It’s not the point, Aunty, when we are working in the fields he should be helping you here, not making a nuisance of himself.”

So I got the regulation clip-behind-the-ear and smack-on-the-arse as I scooted out of reach, though I knew I was Aunty’s favourite.

“Ah I tell you Ele’, its not just Yani, it’s just that I’m getting too old for looking after the children…I’m nearly seventy five now!”

“Why that’s a fib, Aunty…you’re only seventy three!”

Aunty sat in a chair, her fore-arms on her thighs and hands between her knees.

“Seventy five, seventy three….what’s the difference? at the end of the day I feel one hundred and eight!”

“Yani!  you see how you make Aunty feel”, and mama shook her fist at me.

“Leave the boy alone, Ele’, he’s alright”.

“Just you wait till Papa comes home, he’ll straighten you out heh!..yes!” she nodded and hummed threateningly “Then you’ll know how to run!…hoom, yes!” and she nodded again and pointed her flickering finger at me.

“Where is Mihali?” Aunty asked.

“He is gone to the post-office to see if our visas have come through, today is the last day. I hope we hear one way or the other, its the waiting and not knowing ”

“Ahh!.. the rest I will have if you go! “said Aunty, “And then I can get into planting out my garden..” Aunty lifted her hands up flat and shook them like that generation do .

“Ha ha!….won’t you be the queen of the castle if that happens”, mama laughed, ” No-one to look after but yourself!..how I will envy you.”

“Oh don’t you worry, Ele’, I’ve got plans that will keep me on my toes!”

“You don’t think you will miss chasing after the children?” (a laugh).

“The little blighters!…oh, I suppose there will be times but as I said before, my bones are getting too old for scurrying after the little rabbits! (a laugh also).And as for Yani!..” she caught me trying to sneak past and grabbed and tickled me, how I squealed and squirmed! ” There, that’ll show you that cunning out-foxes youth any day!” and she released me so I scampered away out the door.

“Papa’s coming!” I called…”With Tomas!”

“Ah!…let’s see now..” said mama wiping her hands with a cloth and peering over Aunty and out the door.” How’s he walking? I can tell his mood from his stride.” and she wiped her hands while she concentrated. “Oh dear…it doesn’t look like good news…”

“Slower, Tomas, walk slower she can tell what mood I’m in from our walk!”

“Ah, yer can’t fool women, Mihali, they’ve spent too much time studying men!”

“Just for the moment will do, I don’t want to fool them all the time…hang your head a little…pretend you owe Spiros money and he is after you for it!”

“What is that parcel they have, Elena?”, Aunty asked.

“Some cheese from Tasso…I said to pick some up while he was there.”

Papa and Tomas trudged through the door with downcast faces, mama plonked her hands on her hips.

“No good eh?” she sighed, then flicked the towel she was holding and spoke in a contrived, brave voice ; ”Well, we’ll just have to wait till the next quarter and bite the bullet!” and she went to move past the table over to the sink. Just as she was abreast of papa, he nonchalantly pulled out a bundle of papers, yawned exaggeratedly and placed them on the table in front of mama…she stopped, frowned, picked up one of the pieces of paper and read.

“OHHH! Mihali  these are..”her eyes all wide with excitement “Oh..you tricked me..you tricked us both…oh didn’t he Aunty (a little cry of delight) our visa’s! they’ve come through! oh how you fooled me, I was watching you as you came up the road….and you Tomas! oh!”.. and we were all jumping around the table all excited and mama read the immigration papers piece by piece, some out loud, some to herself, her lips moving as she concentrated and lifting the towel to her lips every now and then till her eyes became watery and she slumped down in a chair and wept with the release of tension and papa fell onto her neck and consoled her with joking words and wet, sloppy kisses. Tomas opened the parcel and took out a bottle of wine and a cheer went up from the adults and Aunty clinked and chinked some glasses from the shelf and papa slopped wine into each glass, talking all the while and leaning over mama at the same time and with all the celebration we didn’t get to bed till after midnight!…I wished we got visa’s every day!..anyway, at least mama forgot to tell on me to papa!…

And so we all got permission to immigrate, all our family and Papa’s two brothers and their families, even yaya and papu (gran and granpa) all except Aunty, but she didn’t want to go anyway!…besides, she wasn’t really our aunty, oh, she was some distant relation, from over the other side of the island. She came to live with us before I was even born and spent all her time looking after us kids while the adults were working in the fields or the orchards. Sometimes she’d sit on the wicker chair outside in the fine summer days and do the olives or the cobs of corn, with us kids crawling around her feet or she’d have us helping her. She’d keep up a running stream of admonitions against us if we got too rowdy and she’d get us lunch or drink and be forever picking up a baby that was crying and would cradle it on her lap between her still working arms and start crooning some ancient lullaby just to break in the middle to chastise one of us for squabbling then have to “choo! choo! choo!” the baby all over again and get up and walk around in circles quietening the little brat….

“Ahh! ” she’d say,”If fate was kinder to me I’d have my own kiddies and not be here refereeing you lot!…Ahh..fate!”

So we got the feeling over the years that she was only looking after us as a duty. Oh we were fond of her, no mistake, how could you spend so much time as a child with someone and not become attached? and she likewise, but she always finished off the day with a groan about her “weary old bones” so that papa and mama spoke quietly some nights about immigrating to Australia and how wonderful it would be for Aunty to be released from looking after all the children. Then sometimes papa would sigh and say it was such bad fortune that had fell upon her and Petro with the war, and if things had of been otherwise so that I suspect that “Petro” was someone in Aunty’s past who was not there now.

Well. our family was the first to leave, then the brothers would follow in a months’ time and lastly; yaya and papu, who wanted to stay till the wine was vintaged to make sure a good job was done as you couldn’t trust Tomas to be thorough in the preparation etc, etc. Papa just rolled his eyes and said “whatever”, anyhow there was plenty to do once they were in the new country to prepare the way for the others and maybe it was best that the old couple were not under their feet what with the strangeness of it all (the last bit was spoken quietly and out of earshot of granpapa!).

So within three months, from working out in the fields and Aunty bustling about with armfulls of kiddies, we were all gone to Australia and Aunty had no-one to worry about but herself. And that, I suppose, is one of the worst things that can happen to a body! I remember the day we left, down on the wharf with all our luggage and the sea-breeze lifting the ladies skirts so they were pushing them back down with an impatient gesture and the scarves floating gracefully from their hair.

All the odd-size bags and cases and boxes cramped together on the deck with sheets of blue plastic thrown over to protect them from the water and the endless kisses and embracing and pinching and backslapping and shaking “to be a good boy for your mama and papa” till it was a relief when the ferry pushed off and we broke free of the island, our home. It was then the wailing started in earnest and it seemed at least one or two people would fall overboard, but they didn’t!

“Andio, andio sus andio, yassu!” cried Aunty “Look for me when you round the bluff, I will wave my scarf!” and she waved her bright red scarf to demonstrate, then scurried off to make it to the bluff as the ferry rounded the island to head to Rhodes where the airport was.

The ferry generally swings out wide there, but I saw papa give something to the captain and then grasp his shoulder with one hand and shake the other gratefully. So that we came in closer there at the bluff and we could see and hear Aunty as she jumped and waved her bright red scarf, it was funny seeing her jump, cause old people don’t jump properly….their top half seems to leap up but their feet stay on the ground! and she was calling out to us but the sea-breeze which was stronger out on the water blew snatches of it away so we only got bits of what she was calling, like:

“Yassu…yassu!…remember me!.. fortune …Australia!..Yani. return to see me Yani  “.. till the rest was lost…

There; I knew I was her favourite! even when she chastised me, there was a look in her eye. I suddenly wondered then about who Petro was, and I thought that I’ll have to ask mama but the journey was all too exciting so I forgot all about it.

Six months later:

The white heat! The space! and the work! That first summer was a scorcher in more ways than one, what with all the organisation to be done. But we finally settled in our new home in Australia and Christmas came and went, then the new year, and papa came in the door one day with two letters. He waved them high.

“From Sophia!” he cried. Mama brushed a lick of hair from her eyes as she looked up from the baby.

“Ahh! Read them out Mihali, I’ll look at them later.”

“There’s two..let’s see….ah, this one first, it’s the earliest….the other must have caught up in the mail ”

He tore the letter carefully down the side and turned it around a couple of times till he got it right.

“Dear Tourists!” he quoted and they laughed. “Dear tourists ” he began again and read slowly but with emphasis on the news-bits or funny-bits when he came to them, sometimes repeating a word or two that tickled him and laughing with it..; “…and Tomas is very busy “guiding “ (that’s her word!) the Swedish and German girls around the ruins of the island!(and doing his best ruining their virtues I might add!) ” and papa laughed but mama just tich’d him and told him to go on with the letter, so he read it through to the end .

He held the second letter up and frowned a little as he read the date on it .

“This one’s written just a week later than the first..she must’ve forgotten some little bit of news….I wonder? “..and he read it to himself and his brow knitted as he read.

When he finished, he didn’t say anything but just sat down at the table…mama was watching him but not saying anything.

“So….go on Mihali,…read it.” but papa just shrugged his shoulder and dropped the letter on the table.

“It’s,..it’s Aunty….she’s died.” there was silence in the room,

“Read the letter Mihali,…read it to me.” mama said quietly.

Papa shrugged again, gathered up the piece of paper, sort of flicked it a couple of times like he didn’t want to touch it, then cleared his throat and began:

“Dearest Mihali and Elene….I am the bearer of sad news,…yesterday at six o’clock in the evening, Aunty passed away. It was so sudden it gave us all here a shock, as I suppose it will you. It seems strange that within six months a person as seeming ageless as her could suddenly lose the zest for life.

After you all had left, she had grand plans to renovate the garden and plant sections with vegetables here, flowers there, several fruit trees over near the tank, etc, etc. She had Tomas running off his feet moving earth and rocks and so on. She seemed so full of life, of plans, like she expected to live forever….then we had a cold snap a couple of weeks ago.. you know those winds that come down from Siberia? well she came down with a bit of a flu that kept her in bed a couple of days, nothing much!…then she was back on her feet, though she had lost some of her zest, or so Tomas said, cause he asked her if she wanted him to move that rose bush by the gate now and she said “No, it looks nice there when it flowers in the springtime”, when she was all keen to clear that spot the week before…it was her voice that made him take notice. Then she stopped doing work on the garden altogether all of a sudden!

Tomas went around every evening and he found her just sitting on the wicker chair out the front of the house, even on cold days, so he would take her inside. She went a bit “funny” in the last days. Tomas went there last Sunday evening and there she was, sitting outside with a bowl of corn cobs cradled in her lap and she just staring out and rocking back and forth like old people seem to do but Tomas said it looked for all the world like she was rocking a baby. She went into a fever that night and never recovered. She woke just yesterday for a moment and whispered;

“Petro will come back soon….tell Yani..” and that was it..On her soul: Kyrie eleison.”

In Sunshine and Shadow.

Image result for workers commuting on a train pics.

At seventy years, I am retired now from my trade as a carpenter..and yes , I draw on the aged pension..and no..I have no investment property, no portfolio of stocks or shares, I draw no extra dividends from any sort of financial investments…What you see is what you get I’m afraid. No..I am just your average retired boomer-generation tradie who started work at fourteen years old and finished at sixty-five…still functioning in health if lacking some of the more attractive physical attributes that are the markings of our youth…and I’ll leave THAT there!

No…I have no investment things at all…after all, what could a working person afford on a living wage that left little over at the end of a year except to take the family on a short holiday down the coast or to the alps (on a good year)?….that or in the family home we must bide. No, the working/producing classes of this nation have always been too busy earning a living wage from dawn to dusk in one work-platform or another, in sunshine and shadow, too busy and not wealthy enough to invest in anything more than home and family…two integral structures that support a healthy society that now appear to be more and more out of reach of this post-modern casualised workforce.

Yet, I see these “committees” of the LNP. doing a travelling circus routine up and down the east coast, gathering together so many “self-funded retirees”(has there ever been more a misnomer?…”self-funded!!” what! Do they print their own money?) outraged at losing so much soft/ill-gotten gain at the expense of the taxpayer..holding so much money and assets that is more than adequate than the average retired citizen ever earned on a “p-a-y-e” wage in their lifetime..and STILL wanting more?…and care little for the rest of the citizen body who struggle on like some flowers dying.

Where has all this hunger for wealth and greed come from?…All this financial insecurity so that one must aspire to the wealth of a Croesus before one reaches an age where they have time enough if not health enough to use it? If it is true that the lower strata of a society take example from the behaviour characteristics of those above them in status, then we have to look to that class that gives example and ethics to the rest of a nation.

And what do we find?

Given that the upper-middle classes control the financial houses of the nation, the politics of the nation, the security, policing and judicial authorities of the nation, the corporate boards, the public utility authority boards, the control of the major communications, health, education and river and water management boards of the nation…etc…and given that there is hardly ANY ONE of those above authorities, boards, banks and political institutions that have not been corrupted, out-sourced, damaged and in some cases sold off and destroyed….one is inclined to inquire..: Just who the hell is in charge of this nation??

And of course..we need look no further for the answer than those self-promoting “Lounge-lizard Lotharios” growing fat on the proceeds of taxpayer funded junkets and property portfolios so generous that a legion of lobbyists, accountants, lawyers and journalists are kept in full-time employment making excuses for, securing the position and boosting of these loathsome leeches on the State body corporate…at least SOME are gainfully employed! These upper-middle class politicians, speculators and entrepreneurs now as thick on the ground as an Autumn frost on the slopes of mount Baw Baw.

Just WHO did buy all that gold that Costello sold off at a bargain basement price?…anyone YOU know?…and what did happen to all those gigalitres of water that DIDN”T run into the Murray-Darling Basin?…do YOU see any of it? …Did it just…..evaporate into thin air?….and that bit about the Great Barrier Reef dying and the half-billion dollars paid to some obscure mob to “fix it”….and the continuing soap-opera of the NBN?…and why is my Telstra “Mobile Broadband” bill still one of the biggest monthly expenses when I still cannot get a half-decent/reliable broadband connection that gives above 5mbps download and our mobile phones can neither send nor receive calls or emails unless we run about the house, inside and outside tyring to find that elusive “sweet-spot”?….and is the chaos of “private public transport”, aged care, disability care, electricity, fuel and general pollution still under control of the marvellous miracle of private ownership in the city?…it’s not out here in the regions, because we have little of those things that even resemble uniformity or usability!…out here in the sticks, it would almost appear that you are on your own and the devil take the hindmost!

So who are the “brilliant minds” and organisers running this cockamamie enterprise?…Oh!..that’s right..those same : Private wealth, Private educated, private enterprise but with public authority ponces who have risen like a chancre on the backs of the working/producing classes. Those same pustulant boils that ooze verbal slime from their lick-spittle lips that lie more proficiently than railway sleepers on the Indian Pacific stretch on the Nullabor Plain and work just about as often as the same.

If you want to know the actual names of all those who have sold our gold, our commodities, our utilities and services, downgraded or on-sold our national infrastructures – roads, transport, water usage, communications…who have undermined, destabilised and demoralised our national psyche, our national integrity, our national code of decency in human relations…who has corrupted and infected the operation of our Parliaments State and Federal, made our foreign relations intentions a laughing-stock on the world stage and in general delivered our once rightfully honourable nation to the feet of the gods of war and waste, then you need look no further than the “Who’s Who” of Australia past and present editions, the gilded names on the panels hung in the Board of Directors rooms of any number of corporations national or international, the LNP members of The Houses of Parliament or simply consult the charters of enlistment in those exclusive private schools and colleges of the nation….they’re ALL there.

Yet, will they come to the assistance of those whose living standards lay dying?

This..OUR nation has been sold off piecemeal in both body and spirit, heart and soul, in sunshine and shadow by the upper-middle classes for their own and ONLY THEIR OWN benefit. It has NOT been the petty middle-classes of the skilled trades, it has NOT been the semi-professional workers or the small agricultural producers and family businesses…We have been betrayed by that class of society that has structured its own higher-echelon network to embrace those most suited to their deviousness and greed and excluded those from their ranks who show the first signs of honour and decency…these upper-middle classes are NOT the employers of Australian workers, rather, they are the “Judas Iscariots” selling the heart of our nation for a paltry thirty pieces of silver…leaving the working poor to be crucified on the cross of penury, sickness and homelessness…instead of honouring our national needs.

Now, with an election coming up, it is becoming time for all good people to come…NOT to the aid of that party of robber barons…but to the aid of our country, for while the spivs, spielers and speculators are come and gone with their ill gotten gains, the solid citizenry will still be here..as the song goes…..”in sunshine or in shadow”… after all, where else would we want to go..for this is our home.

Now every citizen who wants to be considered a decent citizen must look less to their own selfish needs and instead look to the health now and for the future of the nation.

AND REMOVE THESE BASTARDS AND THEIR FILTHY LEECHING CONSPIRATORS OUT OF OUR LIVES AND OUR PARLIAMENT!

The Seven Weeping Men of Sedan.

Image result for Pic of a weeping man standing.

A stinker of a day in the middle of winter…rain, rain, rain…from the moment I started out on the delivery run to Swan Reach and beyond till I came toward home. One of those steady, drenching rains that every farmer dreams about and every delivery driver hates!…Standing with the sack-truck at the door of a house that forgot or didn’t know you were coming that day..rain trickling down your collar, wet package, wet delivery docket..unsigned..and a long way home….love it…good luck to you farmers…

Coming down Sedan Hill in that foggy rain was a tricky thing, all those twists and turns, but once on the flats, it was usually plain sailing. But this day it was all squinty-eye and flapping windscreen-wipers.

I was on the straight stretch coming toward Sedan…The window had fogged up a tad and I was wiping it with my hanky…was coming near the edge of town, there by Ziedel’s bridge when I saw a woman there at the bridge..she was leaning over the rail looking into the creek-bed…

“That’s weird” I thought…out in the pouring rain…I pulled up on the road and wound the window down..

“You right?” I called out…She turned to me, and for all the world she looked far from alright..she looked terrified.

“My child!”..she called back “ I have lost my boy”…and she turned once again to lean over the rail to look into the creek-bed. I thought it somewhat strange as there was no water in the creek..it takes one hell of a storm to bring water this far from the hills in those dry-weather creeks on the flats.

“Perhaps he’s hiding under the bridge?” I thought to assist..”And he doesn’t want to be found”.

The woman..aged about in her mid-twenties, attractive, with a full head of the most flaming red hair, just turned her terrified face to me and cried again in the same plaintive voice..

“My child!…I have lost my boy”….

“Just a minute, miss…I’ll pull over off the road and come give you a hand…” I drove off the highway and parked the van…But when I got out to assist the woman, not a willing participant for someone of my portly bulk I apologise not!.. I couldn’t see her..I couldn’t see anyone in that driving rain. I looked around..I walked to the bridge…but there was no-one there…not a soul.

“Hello!” I called…”Are you there?”…no answer..I was a tad flummoxed as to what to do..How did she just walk away?…I admit it was a heavy drenching rain that made even staring wide-eyed difficult, but how could I have missed her?..What more could I do?…actually, there was nothing I could do, now soaked as I was except get back in the van and drive away.

I did my round of deliveries and by the time I drove off the Swan Reach ferry heading back home, I was really pissed off!…my shirt was still clammy on my back against the driver’s seat…my hair still waxy and lank over my forehead…I wasn’t a cheery soul and when Sedan Hotel came in sight, it was with little hesitation that I pulled in for a quick shot of a warming fluid.

“Make it a double, China” I instructed the barman “ The old furnace needs a tad firing up”. He poured me a generous double of the old, crinkly-bottle of Beenleigh Rum with a wry smile. The atmosphere in the bar was sombre and dark…the day outside let little light through the windows and the electric light threw a dull illumination onto the bar top.

“Been out in the weather?” he motioned to my wet clothes as he rang up the till. I put the glass on the bar-mat and gave a shiver of satisfaction.

“Been out on the road, you mean”…I replied…”this” and I plucked the damp shirt off my chest ” is the fault of one of your local ladies”…I took another slug of that hotel’s wonderful libation.

“ And what lady would that be?” the barman heaved his chest in a silent laugh.

“ Redhead…out in the rain”..I now sipped the rum..” down at the bridge there just out of town” I continued to fatten out the situation…” out in the bloody pouring rain looking for her kid”…I sneered.

There was a marked silence now in the bar, and several of the other male patrons suddenly looked to me…I felt I was being doubted..

“What?…what?…” I opened my hands at them questioningly..” How do you think I got so wet?…you think I was kicking a footy down the road for fun or something?..” I gulped  the remainder of my drink and turned to go..

“Hold on..” the barman said “ A redhead?…at Ziedels bridge?” the barman quizzed me.

“I don’t know who’s bridge it is…but yes..a redhead..just there at the bridge as you come into town from the Barossa..a redhead, in the pouring rain….” They all just stared at me..” There at the bridge, calling out that she had lost her child…no!..hang on …her son!…that’s it…her son!” …You could’a heard a pin drop.

“ .’My child…I’ve lost my boy!’ she called” I looked one to the other of the staring eyes. The barman broke the silence..

“Did she look like this woman?” and the barman placed a small, framed photograph on the bar in front of me….and there she was, sure as I saw her just a couple of hours ago…a beautiful young woman with the most wonderful locks of flaming red hair…THAT, I couldn’t miss…there was name under the portrait..I read it out quietly..

“ Cherry Holmstrom”…I read..” Cherry?…it sounds like a fruit rather than a name…but yes that’s her alright.” I tapped the photo…”why..is she related to you or something?”

The barman placed the photo back into an enclave above the counter.

“Her name really was “Cherie”…but with that red hair and her sweet looks, she got called “Cherry”..as a kind of affectionate name by the local men.” The barman finished with a sad turning of his head.

“Was? “ I asked “What do you mean; WAS?…has something happened to her since this morning?” I asked with I must admit an unbelieving chuckle on my lips…But you could have knocked me over with a feather when he answered…

“She’s been dead at least sixty years now.” And he stared dead-pan at me. “sixty years ago today as a matter of fact”.

“Riiiight” I said quietly, looking from one of those locals to another in turn..”Now it’s my turn to ask some questions..but first you better get me another of that drink I just had.” And I reached for my wallet.

The barman waved my proffered note away…

“This one’s on the house” and he placed a big, fat tumbler of ‘Crinkly ’ in front of me. He then leant toward me in a confiding manner..one arm on the bar and he spoke softly..

“Cherry was a local girl..you know..” and he gave me an exaggerated wink “ You see these other blokes here..?” I counted them out…there were six of them..an even half dozen. “ They all went out with her at one time or the other…on different days..but around the same time..and though they knew that Cherry was seeing other chaps, they didn’t let on to each other…You see, Cherry was one hell of a good looker and those sorts are a scarcity out in this part of the world…Oh there are any number of good, solid women, but Cherry…well..she was something special…”

I had been looking at those other old men there as the barman spoke, and I could see they all had eyes that looked as if they had been weeping…strange..I would have on any other day put it down to the dust in the air..except today it was this drenching rain.

“ So all these blokes here were once the boyfriend of this Cherry?”

“Yes” . the barman answered.

“And they never confronted her or each other about the situation?” I asked.

“No…because, you see..they all loved her and they didn’t want to lose her…so when one said he was going to see his girl that night, though the other knew who it was and would ask..: “and is that Cherry?” the one would answer ..: “No..It’s her sister” and the other would nod in recognition of the denial…and so they all got to continue to go out with Cherry..and she was happy to accommodate them..each in his turn…and she would arrange to meet up with them at the “seven cross roads” junction…about a mile out on the east side of town. That’s how it eventually got to be named “The Seven Sisters” junction, because they all at one time or the other admitted to going out with “the sister”….you see.”

“But tell me,” I leaned in closer “Why are their eyes all red like that?…it looks like they have been crying…?”

The barman looked to the men for what seemed a long time..then he turned to me..

“That’s probably because they have been weeping for the loss of her this last sixty years”.

I thought he was having me on..and I giggled a tad..but he looked dead-pan.

“Kevin!” the barman called to one of the men “You went ‘walking’ with Cherry, didn’t you?”

“Too right”. The man called Kevin answered “But not to the end of the road..” and his eyes looked like they watered up a little at the thought. The barman went on to me with a soft tone..

“ That’s because she chose another one of them and married him…she then became pregnant..like she was waiting for the right time..”

“But hang on”…I countered “ I actually SAW that woman there at the bridge this morning “I called to her and she replied that bit..about..about losing her child..her boy….I KNOW what I saw!” I insisted…then I settled..” I know what I heard!”.

“Yes…she lost her child with a miscarriage on the night of the storm.”

The barman decided he’d settle it…he called to one of the weeping men..

“Jack, mind the bar for a bit , will you?” and to me he whispered “C’mon…show me just where you saw the woman…”

I finished the drink and we went to my van…The barman introduced himself as Frank and we shook hands on it…The rain was still bucketing down like it was never going to ease up..

On the way to the bridge, Frank told me of that night’s events sixty years ago..

“ A wild, wild night with one of the worse storms in the district…much like this one..the rains in the hills being much heavier, sent a wall of storm water down the usually dry creek beds and Ziedel’s Bridge was washed away…the blokes from the town..those fellows you saw back there in the bar were all there at the bridge getting ready to set up road blocks against any traffic..But then they looked into the driving rain up the road..They could see a motorcycle’s light coming from the opposite side of the bridge down the road out of the driving rain..

“Who’s the fool riding out in this rain?” Clarrie yelled..and then they realised when they heard the familiar note of the exhaust of Cherry’s “BSA Bantam” motorcycle..

“It’s Cherry!” one of the men cried “for God’s sake warn her about the bridge!” and they all ran toward her down the road, waving their arms..but whether it was the driving rain or the whipped up sleet, she didn’t see their warning and they watched helpless as she plunged onto the washed out bridge and into the raging torrent. All the men rushed to the bridge to rescue her..

They did eventually get her out, but she was pinned under her motorbike and the washed down debris for quite some time, so that she almost drowned. And when they finally got her onto the road, there was blood everywhere running from her lower body..They thought at first that she was injured from the accident, but it was a miscarriage she was having..she was losing her baby..for she was heavily pregnant at the time.

Cherie looked down at the blood in horror, for she immediately knew what was happening..

“My child!…I’ve lost my boy!” she cried…and she kept crying over and over that she had lost her boy..

The men tried to comfort her, but she wouldn’t be and she tore from their arms and with a mighty effort, ran toward the bridge calling out ..:’I’ve lost my boy!…I’ve lost my child in the waters!” and she flung herself into the muddy, murky torrent…and this time the men couldn’t find her…and she drowned there along with her lost child… though in reality, she couldn’t have known then that it was a boy..though it did turn out to be that when they retrieved the body later…”

We had arrived at the bridge and I stopped the van and pulled on the handbrake..

“Well, she must have been one hell of a woman to keep six blokes on the hop at the one time”…I snorted…”Here, Frank..put this cap on..it’s pissing down and you might as well keep that head dry.” And I handed Frank a cap..” I got this hoodie” I said.

Frank was about to step out of the cabin ..he paused and then said..:

“Seven…there were seven men..There was the one she married and whose child died along with her that night.”

I was a little taken aback by his words..

“So who was the seventh?” I asked…Frank was already out of the van and he answered just before he closed the door..
“He was the biggest fool of them all, for it was he sent her out in that storm to go to the hotel to get him a flagon of wine…It was ME!…Me, the biggest fool of them all”. And Frank looked to me and he was weeping even more that those other six men back at the hotel..he then slammed the door shut.

I jumped out of the van, paused and did my hoodie jacket up and went to meet Frank at the back of the van..And I tell you as true as I stand here before you..he was gone!..There was no-one there, and what was just a few hours ago a dry creek-bed was now a raging torrent..and the rain..the rain..

“Frank!….Frank!” I called..but there was no answer…then I saw that cap I had given him swirling in an eddy near the edge of the bridge…I sincerely believed he had lost his mind and jumped into the wild waters…

I panicked..I looked about wildly for a quick time then I remembered the others there at the hotel and I jumped back into the van and spun those wheels in my rush to get back to the pub to get help..I parked the van in the street, not even worrying about it. I rushed through the door into that bar expecting to see those half dozen dour fellows quietly sitting there…instead, I saw colour, light and a mixture of men and women laughing and drinking.. a juke-box in the corner was playing a loud song…

I must have looked a sight standing there soaking wet, wild-eyed and in a state of shock, for the barmaid and several patrons looked at me with raised eyebrows..

“Hell man! ..” the barmaid exclaimed “have YOU been sweatin’!” and they all laughed and laughed…and indeed, they had every right to, for when I looked to the windows, all I could see was sunshine..no rain..no wild afternoon..just laughter and sunshine…

I did a complete, slow three-sixty turn around of the room and just stared and stared while I tried to work out what I was seeing…Realising that there was something weirdly strange going on, I made some lame excuse saying I fell in the river while working my boat and quickly made my escape. I drove from that place with my mind very troubled and confused..but I drove and drove away like a man hunted…and even now, even if you doubt what I have just told you, I say it is as true as the day I was born…..

I swear it!

A Traveller’s Journal.

RISORGIMENTO!

“The Culture is dead, long live the Culture!”… When I was quite young, and I heard for the first time the cry of ; “The King is dead, long live the King!”..I was confused…how can the king live long if he is already dead?…But of course, ..well..you know the logic of that old saying with … Continue reading

The long term effects of the Drought.

  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 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 … Continue reading

Passwords.

A close friend told me that not long before their mother passed away, she was given a “smartphone” by her children so as to be ready reachable and in case of emergency…they paid the connection fees etc. all she had to do was sign on. Of course, signing on to such services has a security … Continue reading

On Health Practitioners and other medicines.

There ought to be a rider attached to that response on the “happiest day of your life”, with the assurance of ;”I will……….provided!(see section 31-a…clause 19)”….I say that because when I first entered into that ‘contract’, I went from a batchelor whose only adult affliction was a terminal case of “lateral spine” with the attitude … Continue reading

Too much of Plenty.

In an era of such discrepancy between those who have too much and the great majority who have too little, it is with a kind of disbelief that I keep on seeing the tyrannical political representatives of the former being repeatedly gaining office to inflict even greater burdens on the latter … As the good … Continue reading

The Hollowed Stone.

( Love: The lost child of sophistication.) Romantic love.. Do we even know what it means anymore?  And if we did, how many of us would be willing to “throw it all over”..our whole lives.. on a whim of passionate emotion…I mean, now that we are all aware and sophisticated and have example and warning … Continue reading

The Gender Contract.

Did you watch that you tube vid’ ?…no? well go back and watch it.. you have to so as to understand this post.. Says about it all when it comes to gender relations and without a word. Where have we gone wrong?.. What should be an equal distribution of respect of give and take has … Continue reading

The Flaw in the Glass…

There is a weakness in the Armour , a flaw in the glass of the politically educated upper middle-class in these times..I have witnessed it when I prod and tease some posters who come to the site “trying it on” with their presumption of “authority of opinion” which they mistakenly presume is backed by an … Continue reading

As Game as Ned Kelly.

By the living Jaysus Bloody Keerist, this needs to be put up again and again to remind us how those effing bastards in the “Born to Rule” class will stop at nothing and never cease to try to destroy our icons of cultural heritage and our heroes of rebellion against tyranny..The latest piece of subjective … Continue reading

La Classe Décontractée. (The Casual-Class).

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 … Continue reading

The Social Contract between Humanity and Measured Time.

Edward Gibbon’s assessment of the “Golden Age” of humanity below could, many would demand, be measured against Gibbon’s social status, his time and place in history and of course..his gender. But THAT would be doing a disservice to such a scholar and artist who dedicated over twenty years of his adult life ,which would in … Continue reading

No longer “suitable to terrain.”

Poor Geoffery Rush .. Poor Andrew Broad … and all those other damned and condemned poor bastard hetero’ males who were mesmerised beyond capacity for self-control by that demon of delight, that goddess of goodness .. ; the female of the species … poor me … We are just no longer “suitable to terrain” vehicles … Continue reading

The Final Solution : The LNP. and Democracy.

The answer to that pesky problem of Democratic Governance by Bureaucracy  for John Howard floated serenely over the Australian horizon with the arrival of the Tampa with a number of refugees rescued on board..who immediately morphed into “illegal arrivals” and were dealt with by sending a detachment of SAS. Military to take control of the … Continue reading

The Advanced Society / Barbarian Intellectualism.

Pellampellamwallah, an Aboriginal woman of the Coorong. #1 The Advanced Society. 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 … Continue reading

The loneliness of the long distance runner.

That short story from 1959 by Alan Sillitoe, which gained fame through a film of the same name in the early sixties is still one of my favourite stories…The awakening of consciousness of class, the rebellious nature of the “anti-hero” and then that ending of the long distance race where Smith, the working class lad … Continue reading

An Argument for Writing.

I posted this piece to show my disappointment at the dearth of  apparent interest in the posting of stories and tales on a certain blog site. I based this on the sad lack of follow-up commentary and others contributions to the page. Eventually, the page was shut down due to this lack of interest. A … Continue reading

On Empathy, Sympathy and our Pets.

Tortoiseshell Cat: Over 30 Fascinating Facts About Tortie Cats

In these days of  the news of so much brutality in many places in the world, of  domestic violence, military massacres or social collapse in far away places or here in our own backyard, it may appear self-indulgent and facile to shed a tear or two for the loss of a domestic pet when we can but turn our gaze away from the hurt of humanity. An indulgence of sympathy some would say.

But there is the thing about a knowledge of love and affection. I believe we as humans are born with the innocence of love already in our self, while affection is a thing that can grow in our hearts..There is the interpretation that affection can be a stepping stone toward love..which is true, I’d say, but love is not a learned thing but a indelible emotion of the human spirit..to be capable of love is to be human.

The same with empathy and sympathy..With all those suffering peoples we see every day on the news, there is both empathy and sympathy..I would say that the combination of those emotions as between the separation of those emotions is the major difference between the Right and the Left persuasions of societies…:

“To sum up the differences between the most commonly used meanings of these two terms: sympathy is feeling compassion, sorrow, or pity for the hardships that another person encounters, while empathy is putting yourself in the shoes of another.”

I recently finished a project I have been working on in fits and starts for many a year…the result gives little evidence of that time..and perhaps the quality of the finished product may be viewed as a wasted effort on my part!…But it had to be written..and some of you have read it to which I am very grateful…after all, it was directed to be read.

It is the story of the Italians interned in the 2nd. WWar to cut and burn mallee here near the Murray River..and the “play”..which I called a “reading opera” …”A Ukulele Opera”  describes a microcosm of their situation in those camps…The “opera” starts and finishes with a character named “Gemano” who is lamenting for his fiancé who he left behind in Italy when he came to Australia (with my father) to start a new life and then to go and marry the lady and bring her to Oz to start a family…It was a true event..But the war broke out and he heard nothing of her…whether she be alive or like so many millions more..dead..what were the odds?…Yet he held out with a belief and conviction that she lives…for five years!..five years of despair and internment…and then came the letter of joy…

In these days of “instant gratification”, how many can hold onto a desire or a commitment to a person to love or hold affection with for more than a “clickbait” moment?….We seem to live in a time more of “want” than desire…

Which brings us to the love of our pets and the loss felt at their parting. With the death of a pet, in most cases we are there at the dying, we touch the body and witness the fading life and say a gentle goodbye with the stroke of the fur..or a gentle twist of the pet’s ear or some other favourite touch or word..I would think, in that moment of death, we are MORE in sympathy to that loss of  mute, innocent love with the parting than with the empathy of a loved one. But once we are parted from that unconditional continuity of mutual company and aware of that loss of mutual confederacy between two close companions…I believe we then feel the sympathy of camaraderie so much that the weld of empathy to sympathy can become seamless, a stepping stone from affection to love is complete and that knowledge learned through the companionship of our love toward a pet takes over as instinctive behaviour into our adult relationships between fellow citizens, is what guides decent and civilized attitudes toward our fellow humans no matter WHAT their circumstances. And it is fairly said that one can judge a person by their treatment of their pets or animals. It is a pity our leadership cannot seem to travel far enough down this route to become civilized barbarians!

It has to be fair to ask ; Where would we be without our precious pets?

Trish Corry

trishcorry

trishcorry

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.

Personal Links

View Full Profile →

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 8,048 other followers

Follow me on Twitter

%d bloggers like this: