boodie: shark with human teeth (listen)
I didn't really know my Nanny Cartwright, (my Great Grandmother) that well, she died when I was thirteen and the last four or five years of her life were spent in a rather rapid spiral into dementia and illness which necessitated her spending a lot of time in hospital.
I know her from stories my Mum and my Nan used to tell me, and from the few fleeting memories, I have of my own.

Every second Sunday we used to go visit Nanny Cartwright, I remember enough to know that I did not REALLY want to go, but my Mum was big on family duties, and that was a duty she did religiously. Nanny lived in a set of units just back from the railway tracks in Chigwell.

The only thing that made visiting Nanny that often bearable for the seven years old me, was Uncle Ronny. Ronny was Nanny’s youngest brother, he'd been in THE WAR (a fact that always seemed to be capitalised whenever it was spoken of) and it seemed that THE WAR had irreparably damaged Uncle Ronny in some way that no one was quite able to put a finger on.

Before THE WAR Ronny was a linesman on the railways, I have no idea what that was, but that’s what he used to say, after THE WAR Uncle Ronny was in and out of the Repatriation Hospital, he took to drinking excessively and couldn't hold down a job.

So Uncle Ronny came to live with his sister, she used to nag at him to stop drinking, get a job, pull himself together, and he'd say 'yes m'darlin, you're right, I'm a terrible brother, no wonder you're ashamed of me' and she'd stop nagging, tell him that she loved him no matter what, and he'd wink at us, and we'd know that he was playing her like an instrument.

On the Sundays that he was there, Uncle Ronny would take my sister and me outside, down to the train tracks and we would stand there for hours, waiting for the trains. Uncle Ronny always knew when the next train was, what sort of train it was, and most times he even knew the drivers, they would always toot the horn and wave at Ronny.

That seemed to please Ronny, I am sure he missed working on the railways, and it thrilled us. We always felt rather important, standing there having the horn go and the driver wave, and then we would wave at everyone in the carriages as they would go by, and most people would wave back.

Then Uncle Ronny would look at us conspiratorially and say 'I need to see a man about a dog' and then he'd hand us fifty cents each, take us to the shop just across the road and say 'wait for me here' and then he'd disappear for thirty or so minutes, it wasn't until I was much older that I realised that 'the man about a dog' was really 'ducking off to the pub for a quick bevvy or three without Irene (Nanny) knowing'. Because he was supposed to be watching out for us, not nicking off to the Claremont Hotel for a quickie.

Uncle Ronny drank like a trooper, swore like a sailor and smoked like a chimney, three habits all designed to get well and truly up the nose of my teetotal Great Grandmother, but she tolerated them, because Ronny was a gentleman, he was kind, thoughtful, and he loved her dearly.

He always seemed very sad to me, and I wondered many times why he had never gotten married, and it wasn't until a long time after both he and Nanny were dead that Nan told me that he'd had a fiancée when he went off to THE WAR. But when he had been captured, imprisoned, and put to work on the infamous and deadly Burma railway, she had decided that he was not going to be coming back, and she married someone else.

Ronny returned a mere shell of himself from that horrendous place, with the one thing he'd always kept holding onto the thought that the woman he loved would be there for him, and she wasn't. So he started drinking heavily.

He used to wake in the middle of the night screaming in pain from some relived injury inflicted on him in that place, nowadays they call it PTSD, back then it was called 'get over it and move on'.

I think Nanny kept him saner than he would have been, she was totally devastated when he developed lung cancer and died a long and painful lingering death. That was when she started to go downhill.

She used to have conversations with him after he died, no one could sit in his chair, she loved him more than she ever let on, and it was probably a blessing that when the illness finally took hold it robbed her of all memories of who he was, who we all were.

When she died and they laid her out in her coffin, Nan made sure that there was a picture of Ronny with her along with his army medals; it comforted my Nan to know that Ronny and Irene would be together again.

I wasn't allowed to go to Uncle Ronny’s funeral, Mum said I wasn't old enough, but at Nanny’s I slipped a fifty cent piece into the coffin and asked Nanny to pass on a thank you for all the 'going to see a man about a dogs' and the trains.

boodie: shark with human teeth (listen)
I didn't really know my Nanny Cartwright, (my Great Grandmother) that well, she died when I was thirteen and the last four or five years of her life were spent in a rather rapid spiral into dementia and illness which necessitated her spending a lot of time in hospital.
I know her from stories my Mum and my Nan used to tell me, and from the few fleeting memories, I have of my own.

Every second Sunday we used to go visit Nanny Cartwright, I remember enough to know that I did not REALLY want to go, but my Mum was big on family duties, and that was a duty she did religiously. Nanny lived in a set of units just back from the railway tracks in Chigwell.

The only thing that made visiting Nanny that often bearable for the seven years old me, was Uncle Ronny. Ronny was Nanny’s youngest brother, he'd been in THE WAR (a fact that always seemed to be capitalised whenever it was spoken of) and it seemed that THE WAR had irreparably damaged Uncle Ronny in some way that no one was quite able to put a finger on.

Before THE WAR Ronny was a linesman on the railways, I have no idea what that was, but that’s what he used to say, after THE WAR Uncle Ronny was in and out of the Repatriation Hospital, he took to drinking excessively and couldn't hold down a job.

So Uncle Ronny came to live with his sister, she used to nag at him to stop drinking, get a job, pull himself together, and he'd say 'yes m'darlin, you're right, I'm a terrible brother, no wonder you're ashamed of me' and she'd stop nagging, tell him that she loved him no matter what, and he'd wink at us, and we'd know that he was playing her like an instrument.

On the Sundays that he was there, Uncle Ronny would take my sister and me outside, down to the train tracks and we would stand there for hours, waiting for the trains. Uncle Ronny always knew when the next train was, what sort of train it was, and most times he even knew the drivers, they would always toot the horn and wave at Ronny.

That seemed to please Ronny, I am sure he missed working on the railways, and it thrilled us. We always felt rather important, standing there having the horn go and the driver wave, and then we would wave at everyone in the carriages as they would go by, and most people would wave back.

Then Uncle Ronny would look at us conspiratorially and say 'I need to see a man about a dog' and then he'd hand us fifty cents each, take us to the shop just across the road and say 'wait for me here' and then he'd disappear for thirty or so minutes, it wasn't until I was much older that I realised that 'the man about a dog' was really 'ducking off to the pub for a quick bevvy or three without Irene (Nanny) knowing'. Because he was supposed to be watching out for us, not nicking off to the Claremont Hotel for a quickie.

Uncle Ronny drank like a trooper, swore like a sailor and smoked like a chimney, three habits all designed to get well and truly up the nose of my teetotal Great Grandmother, but she tolerated them, because Ronny was a gentleman, he was kind, thoughtful, and he loved her dearly.

He always seemed very sad to me, and I wondered many times why he had never gotten married, and it wasn't until a long time after both he and Nanny were dead that Nan told me that he'd had a fiancée when he went off to THE WAR. But when he had been captured, imprisoned, and put to work on the infamous and deadly Burma railway, she had decided that he was not going to be coming back, and she married someone else.

Ronny returned a mere shell of himself from that horrendous place, with the one thing he'd always kept holding onto the thought that the woman he loved would be there for him, and she wasn't. So he started drinking heavily.

He used to wake in the middle of the night screaming in pain from some relived injury inflicted on him in that place, nowadays they call it PTSD, back then it was called 'get over it and move on'.

I think Nanny kept him saner than he would have been, she was totally devastated when he developed lung cancer and died a long and painful lingering death. That was when she started to go downhill.

She used to have conversations with him after he died, no one could sit in his chair, she loved him more than she ever let on, and it was probably a blessing that when the illness finally took hold it robbed her of all memories of who he was, who we all were.

When she died and they laid her out in her coffin, Nan made sure that there was a picture of Ronny with her along with his army medals; it comforted my Nan to know that Ronny and Irene would be together again.

I wasn't allowed to go to Uncle Ronny’s funeral, Mum said I wasn't old enough, but at Nanny’s I slipped a fifty cent piece into the coffin and asked Nanny to pass on a thank you for all the 'going to see a man about a dogs' and the trains.

boodie: shark with human teeth (hello kitty)


When I was a kid my father used to go to auctions and buy all sorts of crap, Mum would never know what he was going to come home with, boxes of old assorted kitchen gadgets, cutlery, old books it was usually all junk.

But he did have his moments, one time he came home with a box of old cups and saucers, and for once they were absolutely gorgeous, I fell in love with every single one; for they were delicate and tiny and so so fragile, I had my favourite cup and saucer, and I would use it on special occasions.

Another sterling purchase that my father made was an old old adding machine, it was amazing, there was something arcane about it, how it worked, because it wasn't just like adding 2+2 together, you had to press a series of levers, there was a method, and I learnt how to do it, it was big and heavy and so full of wonder, I loved it.

The other purchase that I remember very vividly was a set and blow wave hair styler, now this wasn't any normal hairdryer, it came in a pink suitcase with curlers, and a bright pink hair cap that you put over your head after you'd finished styling it, the cap had a hole where the nozzle from the tube fitted in, and the other end plugged into the case, you plugged it in and turned it on, and it was like having your own salon hair dryer at home. This one also had a nail polish dryer, a vent you could slide open and dry your nails over.

I loved this machine, I would help my mum style and set her hair, and then get the dryer out and carefully slip the cap over her head, and turn it on, and she would sit there for thirty to forty minutes, reading a book, smoking many cigarettes and drinking at least three cups of coffee, and we would talk, and after she had finished I would be allowed to put the cap on and turn it on low, for some reason I just loved the feel of the warm air on my ears, and the noise it made.

A few other things come to mind, an old heavy duty mincing machine that screwed onto the table, an 1872 copy of Lambs Tales of Shakespeare, with the most amazing illustrations, which I still have, an original copy of Hoyles book of games, which my Sister and I played many many a game out of.

Most of what he brought home was utter crap, and Mum used to dread the saturdays when the auctions were on, like the time he came home with an old locked suitcase, he paid fifty cents for it, on the off chance that there was something valuable in it.

There was something in it alright, the mummified body of a very long departed feline, Mum made dad burn the suitcase; he was all for keeping it and using it-the suitcase that is, not the cat, and Mum said over her dead body.

I think the final straw was when dad went one day and came home with a fairly decrepit Morris Minor that he was 'going to do up' and that it was 'such a bargain at only $20'. Yah, there was a reason it was only $20, it didn't go, was held together with rust and hope and sheer bloody mindedness.

It sat in the carport for months and months until dad managed to con a friend into buying it off him for parts.

Ohh, and wardrobes, yes, yes of course, thats where our wardrobes came from, my big old white one which was huge and perfect for hiding in, and had drawers and a mirror and a secret compartment where i hid my diary and important stuff. I remember when dad and Mr Waldie brought them home tied one on top of the other on the roof of the car.

Mum nearly had conniptions, they were so big they almost didn't fit through the front door and dad was all for ripping the door off the hinges. Oh and the sliding doors, Mum did have conniptions then, dad came home with a set of double sliding doors and had this brilliant idea of knocking a hole between the loungeroom and the kitchen and installing them.

Mum said over her dead body, but then we went away on our annual trip up to stay with my Aunt and when we came back dad had already knocked the hole in the wall and put up the supporting beams.

I think if Mum could have killed him then she would have, he finished the beams and hung the sliding doors, and they lasted for no more than two or three months and then he ripped them down again, said they were a nuisance.

So then he ripped out the normal kitchen door and replaced that with one of the sliding doors, he did this while Mum was down at Nannys' one sunday, Mum was ropeable.

Then he decided, also one day when Mum was down at Nannys' that we didn't need the door from the loungeroom into the kitchen, so he took that down and built a very dodgy bookcase into the top half and blocked off the rest.

Mum didn't dare go out for a months after that, just in case he decided to renovate the kitchen or something.


boodie: shark with human teeth (hello kitty)


When I was a kid my father used to go to auctions and buy all sorts of crap, Mum would never know what he was going to come home with, boxes of old assorted kitchen gadgets, cutlery, old books it was usually all junk.

But he did have his moments, one time he came home with a box of old cups and saucers, and for once they were absolutely gorgeous, I fell in love with every single one; for they were delicate and tiny and so so fragile, I had my favourite cup and saucer, and I would use it on special occasions.

Another sterling purchase that my father made was an old old adding machine, it was amazing, there was something arcane about it, how it worked, because it wasn't just like adding 2+2 together, you had to press a series of levers, there was a method, and I learnt how to do it, it was big and heavy and so full of wonder, I loved it.

The other purchase that I remember very vividly was a set and blow wave hair styler, now this wasn't any normal hairdryer, it came in a pink suitcase with curlers, and a bright pink hair cap that you put over your head after you'd finished styling it, the cap had a hole where the nozzle from the tube fitted in, and the other end plugged into the case, you plugged it in and turned it on, and it was like having your own salon hair dryer at home. This one also had a nail polish dryer, a vent you could slide open and dry your nails over.

I loved this machine, I would help my mum style and set her hair, and then get the dryer out and carefully slip the cap over her head, and turn it on, and she would sit there for thirty to forty minutes, reading a book, smoking many cigarettes and drinking at least three cups of coffee, and we would talk, and after she had finished I would be allowed to put the cap on and turn it on low, for some reason I just loved the feel of the warm air on my ears, and the noise it made.

A few other things come to mind, an old heavy duty mincing machine that screwed onto the table, an 1872 copy of Lambs Tales of Shakespeare, with the most amazing illustrations, which I still have, an original copy of Hoyles book of games, which my Sister and I played many many a game out of.

Most of what he brought home was utter crap, and Mum used to dread the saturdays when the auctions were on, like the time he came home with an old locked suitcase, he paid fifty cents for it, on the off chance that there was something valuable in it.

There was something in it alright, the mummified body of a very long departed feline, Mum made dad burn the suitcase; he was all for keeping it and using it-the suitcase that is, not the cat, and Mum said over her dead body.

I think the final straw was when dad went one day and came home with a fairly decrepit Morris Minor that he was 'going to do up' and that it was 'such a bargain at only $20'. Yah, there was a reason it was only $20, it didn't go, was held together with rust and hope and sheer bloody mindedness.

It sat in the carport for months and months until dad managed to con a friend into buying it off him for parts.

Ohh, and wardrobes, yes, yes of course, thats where our wardrobes came from, my big old white one which was huge and perfect for hiding in, and had drawers and a mirror and a secret compartment where i hid my diary and important stuff. I remember when dad and Mr Waldie brought them home tied one on top of the other on the roof of the car.

Mum nearly had conniptions, they were so big they almost didn't fit through the front door and dad was all for ripping the door off the hinges. Oh and the sliding doors, Mum did have conniptions then, dad came home with a set of double sliding doors and had this brilliant idea of knocking a hole between the loungeroom and the kitchen and installing them.

Mum said over her dead body, but then we went away on our annual trip up to stay with my Aunt and when we came back dad had already knocked the hole in the wall and put up the supporting beams.

I think if Mum could have killed him then she would have, he finished the beams and hung the sliding doors, and they lasted for no more than two or three months and then he ripped them down again, said they were a nuisance.

So then he ripped out the normal kitchen door and replaced that with one of the sliding doors, he did this while Mum was down at Nannys' one sunday, Mum was ropeable.

Then he decided, also one day when Mum was down at Nannys' that we didn't need the door from the loungeroom into the kitchen, so he took that down and built a very dodgy bookcase into the top half and blocked off the rest.

Mum didn't dare go out for a months after that, just in case he decided to renovate the kitchen or something.


boodie: shark with human teeth (free)
I wrote these pieces in 1996 and in 1997, it is now 2006. The tenth anniversary of
this horrendous, terrible event is upon us, the effects of the massacre at
Port Arthur are still being felt, some people might never recover from
the horror they have endured. Tasmania remembers publically for the last time, I
light my candle for the last time, it is time to move on.


The daffodils WILL bloom again )

To the memory of the loved ones lost.

Winifred Joyce Aplin

Walter John Bennett

Nicole Louise Burgess

Sou Leng Chung

Elva Rhonda Gaylard

Zoe Anne Hall

Elizabeth Jayne Howard

Mary Elizabeth Howard

Mervyn John Howard

Ronald Noel Jary

Tony Vadivelu Kistan

Leslie Dennis Lever

Sarah Kate Loughton

David Martin

Noelene Joyce (Sally) Martin

Pauline Virjeana Masters

Alannah Louise Mikac, 6

Madeline Grace Mikac, 3

Nanette Patricia Mikac

Andrew Bruce Mills

Peter Brenton Nash

Gwenda Joan Neander

Mo Yee William Ng

Anthony Nightingale

Mary Rose Nixon

Glenn Roy Pears

Russell James Pollard

Janette Quin

Helene Maria Salzmann

Robert Salzmann

Kate Elizabeth Scott

Kevin Vincent Sharp

Raymond John Sharp

Royce William Thompson

Jason Bernard Winter


boodie: shark with human teeth (free)
I wrote these pieces in 1996 and in 1997, it is now 2006. The tenth anniversary of
this horrendous, terrible event is upon us, the effects of the massacre at
Port Arthur are still being felt, some people might never recover from
the horror they have endured. Tasmania remembers publically for the last time, I
light my candle for the last time, it is time to move on.


The daffodils WILL bloom again )

To the memory of the loved ones lost.

Winifred Joyce Aplin

Walter John Bennett

Nicole Louise Burgess

Sou Leng Chung

Elva Rhonda Gaylard

Zoe Anne Hall

Elizabeth Jayne Howard

Mary Elizabeth Howard

Mervyn John Howard

Ronald Noel Jary

Tony Vadivelu Kistan

Leslie Dennis Lever

Sarah Kate Loughton

David Martin

Noelene Joyce (Sally) Martin

Pauline Virjeana Masters

Alannah Louise Mikac, 6

Madeline Grace Mikac, 3

Nanette Patricia Mikac

Andrew Bruce Mills

Peter Brenton Nash

Gwenda Joan Neander

Mo Yee William Ng

Anthony Nightingale

Mary Rose Nixon

Glenn Roy Pears

Russell James Pollard

Janette Quin

Helene Maria Salzmann

Robert Salzmann

Kate Elizabeth Scott

Kevin Vincent Sharp

Raymond John Sharp

Royce William Thompson

Jason Bernard Winter


boodie: shark with human teeth (lj post)
The shoes were ditched at the first sign of a weak spring sunshine, come September, no matter if we got a late rush of winter weather, it was spring, and you didn't wear shoes in spring, summer or autumn when you didn't have to go to school, feet cramped from having to wear shoes, or gumboots would rejoice in the feel of wet grass under them.

Of course it hurt, until your feet toughened up again, but come summertime, the soles of our feet were like leather and we could walk on the hottest footpaths and bubbling bitumen road without qualm, while our mothers looked at us and made noises about getting tar stuck to our feet.

Shoes were a useless addition, how were you supposed to search for eels in the pond, or feel the squishy mud tween your toes if they were encased in shoes, we may at the behest of our mothers wear a pair of thongs if we were going to go up to the quarry, all those sharp rocks, and snakes, but more often than not the thongs would break while scrambling around the rocks, I’m sure the quarry was littered with the sad corpses of hundreds of thongs from all of us.

We all used to hang around together, me, my sister, the boys next door, Owen and Grant, the Westons across the road, there was seven of them, the Harrises down the street, split of course along age lines, not surprisingly gender, my sister because she was older always hung around with Owen and the oldest of the Westons, my best friend was Tracey, and her younger brother, Richard and sister Manda hung around with us.

On the odd occasions we would all hang around together, usually when we used to go knocking on neighbours doors asking if they had any bottles we could take back to the shop, we'd all pool our pocket moneys, a whopping 20 cents a week, along with whatever we could get for the bottles, and spend up big at the shop.

It was called the Apollo, and was run by Harry and Emanuel, two wonderful Greek brothers who spoiled us rotten, twelve or thirteen kids would rock up to the shop with a dolls pram filled with bottles, we used to get 2 cents per bottle for returning em, and by the time we all pooled our money, we sometimes had two dollars, a veritable fortune in the early 70's for us kids, and Harry usually would stand there, smiling and rubbing his hands and making up bags of mixed lollies, which contained far much more than $2 divided by 13 would normally contain.

Emmanuel would look at him and shake his head and Harry would smile and throw up his hands and say something like 'Ahhh, you worry to much Emmanuel, it keeps the little ones happy, what’s a lolly between friends' and then he would pinch someone’s cheek and laugh loudly and give us a bottle of fizzy, we'd all pile out of the shop waving and laughing.

And NONE of us would have even thought twice about stealing something from Harry and Emmanuel, they were far too nice to us for that, free ice creams, doubled mixed lollies, free fizzy, we knew the value of that.

Summers seemed much longer and hotter and full of fun, making our own blackberry jam, a hideous concoction which looked more than runny muck, but we ate it, catching fish in the pond, cooking them over a fire built on a rock, always aware that we never built a fire on the ground near anything that could catch alight, baking potatoes in our own little rock oven.

The fort from which we launched endless attacks and counter attacks in our never ending games of cowboys and Indians, playing Queenie, trying not to give away who had the ball, or playing 'what’s the time Mr. wolf' endless games of hopscotch, Chinese skips, or even just sitting underneath the street light and telling spooky stories until someone’s mother realised it was 10pm and the sun had been down for an hour, and it was time for bed.

Rolling into bed with a cursory wash of the face, a check to see if the feet were disgustingly dirty or presentable enough to last until the weekly bath on a Sunday night.

Ready to start it all again the next day, heaven help anyone who uttered the words 'I'm bored' that was worthy of a slap round the head, being kicked out of the house and told not to come home until lunchtime, there was always something to do, someone to play with, boredom was not an option.

No one wore shoes, bothered with sunscreen or hats, we all had blistered noses, stubbed toes, scratched or cut feet and legs, covered in mozzie bites, frogs in pockets, jars of tadpoles, at some point we all fell out of a tree, trod on a snake or lizard, were chased around by someone waving a very pissed off eel, fell into a pile of cow dung, pelted with blackberries, saw a dead possum or two, watched a cat give birth, chopped the head of a chook, drank goats milk, fresh from the goat, fell into the creek, bashed our head on a rock, screamed and argued and swore blind to never be friends again, and then five minutes later be laughing our heads off at some stupid thing, went mushrooming, squashed the puffers, played dinky cars, laughed, cried and lived.


boodie: shark with human teeth (lj post)
The shoes were ditched at the first sign of a weak spring sunshine, come September, no matter if we got a late rush of winter weather, it was spring, and you didn't wear shoes in spring, summer or autumn when you didn't have to go to school, feet cramped from having to wear shoes, or gumboots would rejoice in the feel of wet grass under them.

Of course it hurt, until your feet toughened up again, but come summertime, the soles of our feet were like leather and we could walk on the hottest footpaths and bubbling bitumen road without qualm, while our mothers looked at us and made noises about getting tar stuck to our feet.

Shoes were a useless addition, how were you supposed to search for eels in the pond, or feel the squishy mud tween your toes if they were encased in shoes, we may at the behest of our mothers wear a pair of thongs if we were going to go up to the quarry, all those sharp rocks, and snakes, but more often than not the thongs would break while scrambling around the rocks, I’m sure the quarry was littered with the sad corpses of hundreds of thongs from all of us.

We all used to hang around together, me, my sister, the boys next door, Owen and Grant, the Westons across the road, there was seven of them, the Harrises down the street, split of course along age lines, not surprisingly gender, my sister because she was older always hung around with Owen and the oldest of the Westons, my best friend was Tracey, and her younger brother, Richard and sister Manda hung around with us.

On the odd occasions we would all hang around together, usually when we used to go knocking on neighbours doors asking if they had any bottles we could take back to the shop, we'd all pool our pocket moneys, a whopping 20 cents a week, along with whatever we could get for the bottles, and spend up big at the shop.

It was called the Apollo, and was run by Harry and Emanuel, two wonderful Greek brothers who spoiled us rotten, twelve or thirteen kids would rock up to the shop with a dolls pram filled with bottles, we used to get 2 cents per bottle for returning em, and by the time we all pooled our money, we sometimes had two dollars, a veritable fortune in the early 70's for us kids, and Harry usually would stand there, smiling and rubbing his hands and making up bags of mixed lollies, which contained far much more than $2 divided by 13 would normally contain.

Emmanuel would look at him and shake his head and Harry would smile and throw up his hands and say something like 'Ahhh, you worry to much Emmanuel, it keeps the little ones happy, what’s a lolly between friends' and then he would pinch someone’s cheek and laugh loudly and give us a bottle of fizzy, we'd all pile out of the shop waving and laughing.

And NONE of us would have even thought twice about stealing something from Harry and Emmanuel, they were far too nice to us for that, free ice creams, doubled mixed lollies, free fizzy, we knew the value of that.

Summers seemed much longer and hotter and full of fun, making our own blackberry jam, a hideous concoction which looked more than runny muck, but we ate it, catching fish in the pond, cooking them over a fire built on a rock, always aware that we never built a fire on the ground near anything that could catch alight, baking potatoes in our own little rock oven.

The fort from which we launched endless attacks and counter attacks in our never ending games of cowboys and Indians, playing Queenie, trying not to give away who had the ball, or playing 'what’s the time Mr. wolf' endless games of hopscotch, Chinese skips, or even just sitting underneath the street light and telling spooky stories until someone’s mother realised it was 10pm and the sun had been down for an hour, and it was time for bed.

Rolling into bed with a cursory wash of the face, a check to see if the feet were disgustingly dirty or presentable enough to last until the weekly bath on a Sunday night.

Ready to start it all again the next day, heaven help anyone who uttered the words 'I'm bored' that was worthy of a slap round the head, being kicked out of the house and told not to come home until lunchtime, there was always something to do, someone to play with, boredom was not an option.

No one wore shoes, bothered with sunscreen or hats, we all had blistered noses, stubbed toes, scratched or cut feet and legs, covered in mozzie bites, frogs in pockets, jars of tadpoles, at some point we all fell out of a tree, trod on a snake or lizard, were chased around by someone waving a very pissed off eel, fell into a pile of cow dung, pelted with blackberries, saw a dead possum or two, watched a cat give birth, chopped the head of a chook, drank goats milk, fresh from the goat, fell into the creek, bashed our head on a rock, screamed and argued and swore blind to never be friends again, and then five minutes later be laughing our heads off at some stupid thing, went mushrooming, squashed the puffers, played dinky cars, laughed, cried and lived.


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