Thursday, June 29, 2006

Here are three of the very nicest people who ever walked the face of this earth. Aunty Kitty (Kate Flanagan) was related to me on mum's mother's side of the family and when she married my mother's father's uncle...not quite inbredcy... there was no blood relation!!!)...Francis McGoldrick we had a double connection.

This was a gentle family. She was a young bride but he was kind and the life they lived showed in the one daughter who was close to our mother. Nancy McGoldrick was one of those aunts we all hope for. Tolerant and funny and good.

The Flanagan women from Tipperary all had a charm which had nothing to do with conventional beauty...this was something iwas aware of in my mother's mother and that side of the family.

The old man came out originally on the Admiral Lyons in about 1852 or 1858 from Fermanagh Irelan as a toddler with his two other brothers. Their sister died on the voyage.

Nancy mcGoldrick was possibly the closest thing our mother had as a friend. I think I have posted a photo of her previously as a very etherial looking child sitting on her front steps holding her cat. Lots of stories here... Posted by Picasa
Re the "suds" in the I didn't wash the dog in it...we were told that it is just part of the "service" ha ha. Some finish that they put on the seal it...i darn well hope that the dog is not drinking out of it... its getting less eac time we turn it on...soon should be clear and fresh or whatever!
I don't feel like being lil ol cynical me of late, I just feel like posting a few happy snaps. Don's not so good right now with a chest infection. He has only had one chest cold since his accident in 1982 and now this one which is a worry. Quadriplegics by virtue of the injury (if you can call it "virtue) are unable to cough or vomit, so for us a simple chest cold is serious. We don't favour so called 'flu shots in our family...too often you end up with a the very flu you were trying to avoid which in cases of people with weakened conditions is as dangerous as flu...because it is flu ...duh! Watch the death rates rise in nursing homes about a week or two after they do those annual flu shots...but as I said I am not feeling cynical so back to the reason for this picture...

This is the waterfall Don dreamt up in our back yard. It started out as a bit of a pond and it grew. Its just lovely. We can't afford a pool and who wants to spend their lives cleaning one up...been there done that...but here it is so bleakly hot in summer, yours truely can just imagine a soft warm summer's evening and sitting with wineglass in hand and my feet in the water for ages...just hope I don't fall over getting up. Those sisters still talking to me are keen to visit and join me in my debauchery. Don of course will be making sure we all do all the little tasks he will dream up to make it look even better, add plants...or some more pottery snakes perhaps... some say it just makes them feel like they want to go to the toilet... but the doggie just loves his big water bowl...

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Our lovely eldest daughter Melissa, came home for a visit on the weekend... we had a lovely time...Coffee Shop on the Saturday morning, walking about after, on our land, and just enjoying the peace and quiet. She just took over on Saturday evening which was lovely. It felt luxurious to have tea cooked and I promised to clean up but she beat me to it. Its funny when your kids get past about 25 they start to do these things and you don't expect them, so they are a real gift when they happen. But then I remember being the same when I visited my poor old there is a bit of a worry... maybe I am the poor olde worlde mum now... Hmmmm! She's in Greece now...landed some hours ago and reported to us (wintering in the southern hemisphere) that it was 30 degrees (centigrade) but only 7am in the morning... whew. I don't even want to remember summer"s heat. Our winters are so lovely...warm days, cold nights...perfect...for now summer is just a sad memory.

Any way some lovely photos taken of her and we had a really nice weekend which could only have been improved had our youngest daughter been able to join us, but not possible at this moment.
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Monday, June 26, 2006

Ha ha ha ha...every generation has its oddities and for sure we have plenty of them...This good couple whoever they are had to be blogged. Don't you just love the way this poor lady (who is probably a very nice person but married to what looks like a Presbyterian Inquisitor) is holding her little bag???Tee hee. She would have seen this later and would have been justified to kill the dipswitch photographer who no doubt intentionally posed her to look like a Trolless... Ah dear you just have to laugh. I can imagine this pair finally relaxing and breaking out in conversation...we can't all be young and bewdiful can we? Just get the look on his face he looks like he's got a broom handly stuck up you know where>

And I don't think I would tangle with her either. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, June 25, 2006

I have this collection of photos and although I know the stories of most of these people I do not know their outcome.

I look at faces as strong and worthy as any I have ever known and hope... just hope life dealt with these young people as kindly as it could have...

for some reason it is the faces, small as they might seem which touch me.

I see my self, my sisters, my daughters, my mother and grandmother...

all of them ...

but these girls lived even before all of those named and I can't help but wonder how they felt about life the universe and everything

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These Irish girls who became "Dammed Whores and God's Police" according to the police in Australia in the early days, make me look at their faces with admiration. I see no shrinking voilets here but women brave and honourable and sure enough of themselves to face that damn camera with the pride of bloodlines lost to time.

It was these women who protected and made sure the children were loved, protected and educated.

Lest we all forget in our Yuppie Universe.
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These two photos are of (top) my great grandmother Emma (Walker) Spencer and her daughter Ivy Spencer. They were taken on the same day in between 1900 and 1910 I believe. Grandmother Emma had a great sense of humour and looked a lot like my dad's eldest sister who I was very fond of.

But the funny thing is to look at Ivy's face. She could be a clone of my eldest sister when she was young. As my sister says she got the "lantern" jaw, which quite a few got also.

Emma had eight living children although sometimes children who died in infancy were not always listed which is sad really - not to even be listed as having being born. I rather think the parents would have remembered each and every one.

Ivy became a teacher as did my eldest sister before becomming a nurse. There seemed to be quite a few teachers ad nurses in the family... respectable professions for gals in those days I suppose. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

You just have to watch this . Our two daughters had their own version of this but this is great... give it time to load
They don't come any more stupid than these people:-

Question: If you could live forever, would you and why?
Answer: "I would not live forever, because we should not live forever, because if we were supposed to live forever, then we would live forever, but we cannot live forever, which is why I would not live forever."Miss America 1995 from AlabamaHeather Whitestone

"Whenever I watch TV and see those poor starving kids all over the world, I can't help but cry. I mean I'd love to be skinny like that, but not with all those flies and death and stuff."Popular Pop SingerMariah Carey

"Smoking kills. If you're killed, you've lost a very important part of your life,"(During an interview to become Spokesperson for federal anti-smoking campaign.)Model, movie and TV actressBrooke Shields

"I've never had major knee surgery on any other part of my body," University of Kentucky Basketball ForwardWinston Bennett

"Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country,"Washington DC MayorMarion Barry

"Half this game is ninety per cent mental."Philadelphia Phillies ManagerDanny Ozark

"I love California. I practically grew up in Phoenix."Vice PresidentDan Quayle

"We've got to pause and ask ourselves, how much clean air do we need?" Chrysler Chairman and CEO Lee Iacocca

"The word "genius" isn't applicable in football. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein."
NFL Quarterback and Sports AnalystJoe Theisman

"We don't necessarily discriminate. We simply exclude certain types of people." ROTC InstructorColonel Gerald Wellman

"If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure." President Bill Clinton

"Traditionally, most of Australia's imports come from overseas."Keppel Enderbery

"Your food stamps will be stopped effective March 1992 because we received notice that you passed away. May God bless you. You may reapply if there is a change in your circumstances."Greenville, South CarolinaDepartment of Social Services

"If somebody has a bad heart, they can plug this jack in at night as they go to bed and it will monitor their heart throughout the night. And the next morning, whenthey wake up dead, there'll be a record."FCC ChairmanMark S. Fowler
I hope this plays okay for you. A look at this short video is worth your time.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Isn't this just the limit? And we wonder why there is so much corruption. What is in the U.S. is, in Britain, Australia, Canada, France, Japan, Peru etc etc...Its just they don't even bother to pretend any more in the U.S.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

More of LEUNIG

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Leunig is a favourite cartoonist in Australia. Posted by Picasa
This web site and newsletter is well worth looking at.
One of my sisters said to me recently, doesn't reading all this depress you and couldn't understand when I said it didn't. Somehow knowing is important. For me its sort of like there is real shock when you are presented with information which is shocking...fair enough. But then there is for me these days a period of time when that knowledge settles on me, and if I am able I try and find out the source... as a journalist friend said the old, "Who, When Where What and most importantly WHY" should be drummed into us all as little kids...or better still "who gains from this?". Some things are just straight forward, black and white, like someone who pulls a gun on someone to rob them...well he is guilty. Big fullstop. No matter how hungry or deaparate one is you never have the right to endanger life by using a gun. Someone who is really starving and steals without intending harm, but just to fill an empty belly is far less guilty... not guilty at all really. In first world countries no one should be starving and that is everyones problem not just someone who is hungry.

Truth is not depressing. It is confusing. Upsetting. It makes you angry, disgusted etc etc... Like it makes me angry that the New Zealand Government had a hand in covering up evidence that pre Maori times and within their legends there was a white redheaird race living there.
See this link its worth a look then go to to see that the NZ Gov actively concealed evidence of the red haired mummies found there... why? Maybe political correctness...a lot of academic's careers rest uneasily on the historical timeline of "from the ape to modern man...from stone age to hi tech"...any aberrations to that are upsetting...truth or not they bear looking atin all fairness.

I am reading a book about the "Bradshaw " paintings in the Kimberely area of Australia. These rock paintings precede the Aboriginal rock paintings which go back 17,000 to 50,000 years. Have you ever heard of them?

The real tribal elders in the area...not the paid up Government lickspittle aborigines, but the real ones who still know the oral history are well aware that they were not the first race. The people depicted in the Bradshaw paintings are tall with complicated hairstyles and clothing and accessories. If you are interested get hold of this book " Lost World of the Kimberley" by Ian Wilson - Allen and Unwin - published 2006 ISBN 1-74114-391-8 .

It is truely amazing to consider the age of habitation here.

As in all ages...history is written by the victors - stone age to hi tech - can't have it any other way. Careers are made on this, tomes written, children have their minds loaded up with the accepted "truth" and no matter what the evidence, no matter how solid it is in a wierd way ignored as if it doesn't exist and most of us unless we fall over it, or it smacks us in the chops have no idea that possibly there could be alternatives to history, to the news, to the way things work.

Our children should be vigourously encouraged to have enquiring minds, but modern education is dumbing down our future thinkers, doers, creators so efficiently that most of us are unaware apart from the fact that little kids use calculators to add up what most 70 year olds can easily do in their heads. My age group 50's has to use pen and paper, Most teenagers have no idea where to put a full stop much less a comma (and I am probably in this catagory when I type fine when I hand write) Some have no idea what a verb is, an adverb and adjective, a similie etc etc...How can they then be expected to really comprehend the intricacies of literature written before this dumbing down began? How then can they be able to comprehend what is the right question to ask when they do not know there is a question?

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Ho! Hum! Over a week later we are still waiting for our van to return from its mysterious assingnation with MOBILE MECHANICS who are anything but mobile... There it is written on their big Yellow Pages add..."MOBILE MECHANICS...WE COME TO YOU!", but "sorry we can't get your car back to you...are you sure you can't come and get it??? " ..."Yeah sure I guess we'll just jump in our van nd ocme and get iy...whoops sorry you've got our van and we live miles out of town...Duh!"...If I travel with Don its not too bad , he gets a 50% discount for taxis so a trip in and out of town only costs $22 rather than $44.

Every time the mechanics speak to us they are soooo sorry about the bent parts in our engine... I can almost hear their tears plopping down onto their feet...ssoooo sooorry... you have to be trusting because these days because none of us...even those who could attach rubber bands to a car engine in the '70's and make it fo, none of us can compete with THE COMPUTER DRIVEN ENGINE!!!.

"Oh don't mind us we're just sending off to get you that new part...where from?... oh tee hee ...well you know that factory in the artic circle where we get these oh so spoecialised parts from...well no its not there, but somehwere quite like it but even further away from international shipping lines...surely you can understand that!"

BUT ITS JUST A VW VAN AND A COMMON ONE AT THAT...SOB! (sons of bitches ...not crying noises yet!)

And it all started out as the sound of crunching metal under the bonnet...

I could live on baked beans and toast and other vitals but the crusty old man I married whom I do love so much sounds awfully sooky at times,
"But there's nothing nice to chocolate... "

He reaches back in the dangerous depths of his brain and recalls that there should be chocolate in the freezer (yes he freezes his) and starts wondering out loud where those two squares of Cadbury's Old Jamacian he just knows were in there back at christnas could have gotten to...looking meaningfully at me... Okay yes sir! I did indeed eat those two cold tasteless moldy squares of your bloody chocolate way back in February and I had to fight the vweevils for them and yes! I did win that fight which is why I got that chocolate and not the weevils and which is why I got that chocoalte and not you...

and he sulks loudly...begorrah.

Please, please please Mobile Mechanics please fix our van tomorrow or at the very latest Friday. I think someone is going to drive me to do somehitng I might regret.

I might eat his Gingernut biscuits...sacre bleu!And that would be a tragedy. I really don't like Gingernuts but I am myself starting to do the standing in front of the food cupboard thing and windering how many baked beans, tins of corn, beetroot, pasta I can handle till we get out of here....

Sunday, June 11, 2006

We watched the best movie on Friday. Its called "The Lord of War" with Nicholas cage" and it is as disturbing as it is brilliant. Have a look at this site for more

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Its been a 6/6/06 day.

Sitting on the narrow “ footpath” of a very busy road in our Kombi van around lunchtime, waiting for the NRMA roadside service (called the RACV and RACQ in Victoria and Queensland) to come “Help, there’s a sound in the engine as if the engine is dropping out!” I had time to ferret around in the side pocket doors of the van and do a clean up.

Life’s funny really the way it works out, especially today 6/6/06 (wirrah… wirrah) .The synchronicities are so common I am darn sure God does not play dice.

As the time went by and cement trucks played overtakies on the inside all aiming at my mirrors with gay abandon even Thorn the very handsome red kelpie with his big vets collar on to stop him licking off the expensive ointments he had just been anointed with, fell asleep on the floor with a few “humphs” of disgust at the indignities of this morning.

I dug out a little notebook which had been wet by my leaving the window open too often, but which was still legible. In it were small essays I had written while in situations like this, a year or two back. One was very relevant to what was going on.

I had originally begun this one recalling a conversation with a taxi driver in heavy rain some time ago in Sydney. It was raining as I re read it. I had asked him how did he handle it with cars going in all directions like crazies and the rain so heavy you couldn’t see much. He said it all depended on everyone doing the right thing. “It only takes one person to lose it and do something stupid, and it all goes haywire.”

So some years back, sitting in the van I wrote this,
Down below on the many laned bridge all the red brake lights are on. Now off. Now on. It all appears to be like the colours of the Giant Squids… flushing to some unknown impulse or electrical discharge.

How frail life seems from up here but how unending and huge it all seems.

Up ahead a pantec truck back ends a small sedan and the lives of both sets of occupants are changed forever.

Bones are broken. There is pain and distress, and terror. Lives are disrupted and families damaged. But for now it all seems to be in motion and unbelievable.

In the affected lanes the brake lights are on. In the unaffected lanes there are no brake lights visible in the gloom. Their world is unaffected. For a time each car seems like a mobile unit apart from all the rest.

Most will slow down for a few minutes and be grateful it wasn’t them and also genuinely sorry for those involved, out in the raw cold and rain, beyond the snugness of their unit.

Some will arrive home to noisy houses and smells. They dream of better lives and different things they’d like to be doing, as do we all sometimes. Loud conversations of complaint or internal bitching about the inequity of their particular lives for which someone else is to blame.

Others arrive home sickened by the horror they saw or had a part in. They will look at their children with new eyes and see wives and husbands as precious treasures, which most would not understand because for these ambulance, police, doctors and nurses this is the way they live but so much is kept to themselves.

Some others never go home and the lives inside their houses now teeter on the needlepoint between mundane but wonderful normality and absolute chaos as the young police walk in pairs slowly up their driveways.

All this is just life.

We cannot live on that needlepoint of frailty constantly. That leads to madness. So we journey back out in time and travel streets, swim in the ocean, boat on the rivers, catch trains and elevators and fly the skies.

Because we are human.

On and off the brake lights go. Fumes ascend and lives are changed. Its just another Thursday evening.

Tollbooth attendants flirt with the pretty girls who smilingly play the game from the safety of the car. All know the rules of this harmless game.

Rough faced boys make rude signs at people from the back seats of the parental car, giving the finger to old ladies, sticking tongues out at six foot tall wharfies…their parents totally oblivious…”not my little darling boy!”

Grey haired doctors in red sports cars “try hards” attempting to look young enough to be seen to partner sweet young blondes they have managed to inveigle into their armour…but their charm is just the car and perceived wealth. “Gals Doctors are known to be stingy”.

Council workers sitting four abreast hang arms out of windows and loosely dangle smokes and cans of Coke all the while ogling from their height the legs of anything female in the cars below; making sure they are loud about it.

Tight arsed businessmen in dark expensive cars, tap irritably on steering wheels…hanging out for that first drink or too when they hit that expensive house they hope to own one day.

Clapped out baby Boomers in clapped out cars coloured with many different shades of rust and bog fill, with wire coat hangers attached as radio antennas, look nervously at petrol gauges, which are eternally in the red…

White faced, white knuckled, middle aged country drivers like me sit right up over the wheel, peering out, terrified; running on adrenalin; fervently wishing to be out of this metropolis madness of hell.

All these and many more as there are cars in this world pass under this bridge; braking and then moving forward. Braking again and then changing lanes…hoping… raging…

It’s all so human, so ugly, so beautiful and seems now so permanent but I know its all just a flicker in time really.

Crashes to crashes.
Rust to rust.” Some years back.

And today 6/6/06 I was worried about “Crashes to crashes, rust to rust”. As each whacking big truck buffeted by the old van, I worried…not for me so much…I rang Don many times knowing he was “Home alone”, which he hadn’t been when I had left. It was funny that when I finally got home there was a mashed up old bit of banana he’d tried to get and one small empty packet of sultanas …like for kid’s lunches…spread along the bench.

I had told the NRMA of our predicament but remember its equal rights for all these days, so that as there is to be no discrimination to disabled there are also no extras provided either now that they have come out of the bedroom cupboard.

Like just suck eggs and cop it sweet.

Not to worry Therese, I tell myself, just let it go. You can’t get angry about everything. But I do get angry but not so much about things which affect me I get angry about things which affect old ladies living on bread and jam and lonely old men who look cold, and desperate looking young adults who are a step away from giving up and kids…and my husband. But don’t tell him that because he’d just poo hoo that and want to go for someone’s throat.

And when we got to our car fixer upper…he refused to drive me home because I had the dog… I could not call a taxi because I had the dog and no paper money. But out of the blue an old friend we knew wandered over and booked his car in for a rego test and offered our lovely dog and me a lift home, many miles out of his way…. Something we pay the NRMA Insurers to do!

So we had a good chat on the way home…Don and he had a good chat after and the day ended better than expected apart from the worrying question of our precious van…

We got home finally today 6/6/06. A bit of a worry about the old van as we live some miles out of town and that was an awfully sinister sound from the engine. There’s nothing like the sound of metal on metal in the engine to make you worry.

But we are all alive… along our road today ambulances flew after a truck wiped out a car. Hopefully no one was killed, but someone was most certainly hurt and had a much much worse day than I. Don had heard of this accident and, concerned rang me while I was at the vets to make sure it wasn’t me.

Many people had a much worse day. Much worse.

My sister’s little three year old…three today rang me from New Zealand to thank us for her present, a music box and winter jumper…and I sang “Happy Birthday” and realised she’d given the phone back to her mum after about three bars…hm!
Therese Mackay 6/6/06

Sunday, June 04, 2006

I was amused by Gina's (from the US) comments re the half flush and full flush on toilets in Scotland. .They are compulsory in all new toilets here in Asutarlia and its only theolder ones which have the one control. Peopleget by that by putting a brick in the cistern and this saves water. I thought the half flush/full flush would be everywhere.

We are on permanent water restrictions here on the east coast where we live, well not us exactly because we are on tank water - but in the area we live in its permanent, and most of us are pretty pleased about that. You never see lawn sprinklers and yet most gardens have coped well. Sure some people cheat a bit but the bulk just couldn't be bothered. The restrictions are not onerous but just common sense.

Weall chortle about the little rhyme "If its yellow, let it mellow...if its brown flush it down" meaning that those who care enough just don't flush every single time the toilet is used... only when its brown...or before visitors or just when it gets "time"...and it doesn't smell and we don't get sick.

Actually when I was a kid we had an outdoors toilet which was serviced by Council and the Pan or can as some called it was replaced weekly.... towards the end of that week if the family was large the level of yellows and browns and newspaper got a bit too close to the posterior for comfort...and mum just gave it a big dose of Phenyle... That toilet in summer did smell a little if the lid was stupidly left open... but none of us ever had gastroenteritis, nor Urinary tract infections as kids...

It did get a bit maggotty at times (!) Have a look at this Gina this is all true...every Aussie knows the exact meaning of "To carry the Can".

We had friends who had what are called Pit toilets. A huge hole was dug (I mean huge) and the toilet construction moved over it. It lasted for ages but when it got too full another hole would be dug and the toilet moved over it ...hey presto new toilet. Then a tree would be planted over it.

Sadly we have forgotten more than re realise and country people lived with such little waste. But thats another subject.
I found this site on someone's blog and sorry not to give credit but honeslty can't remember. Its worth a few good looks...

Saturday, June 03, 2006

The Firelighter

The Firelighter.

I checked back through my posts to see if I had posted this previously (got no response from “Find” – apologies if I have. I just directed to a blog and just finished reading a very funny story about called “The Famous Pyromania story”…so am posting this for its author…

The Fire Lighter.
(all true!)

It was so hot. Washing up after tea made me even hotter. Sweat prickled down between my shoulder blades. I was looking forward to a cool shower and putting on comfortable clothes. I don’t think rationally in the heat and just run on ‘what has to be done’...’what has to be endured’, till I can pour out a long cool icy and slightly alcoholic drink at the end of the long February day. I hate February, except for my birthday.

I got as far as the comfortable clothes.

“Therese, are you busy?” my husband asked. Why did I get a sinking feeling. I went very quiet, thinking, “If I don’t answer he’ll forget about whatever it is...” although I had a strong suspicion what it was he wanted, and knowing Don, I knew it would take a biblical flood to deter him from any course of action he has chosen.

“Bring the matches with you...and the mosquito spray.” Not a request, more of an order which knows its going to be satisfied.

“Oh hell!...I don’t want to do this.” was going round in my head which resorts to childish habits when hoping an escape will present, but knowing it never does. Dragging my feet I took as long as I possibly could to find the matches and mosquito spray and shuffle unwillingly out into out bushy front yard.

There he was, sitting in his electric wheelchair next to a gargantuan pile of whole tree boughs, off cuts, leaves, sticks and myriad other combustibles that sat in the centre of the yard under the tall and very combustible gum trees. He looked at me as I came down the front ramp. Smiling the charming smile of the youngest child, the golden child, beloved of his elder sisters, the much wanted “save the marriage baby”, he knew I would do almost anything he asked, as long as he persevered.

Life is dull with all of us at times but when it is not dull around my husband it is very much not dull. I never quite know what to expect from him except that when he has decided on a course it is much easier to go along with him or to appear to, for the time being till I can see a way out. This is the man who swam the Hastings River drunk for a dare, who tried to steal a circus elephant for another man’s kids, and got thumped down for his troubles by the elephant named Judy- elephants never forget. This is the man who bails up politicians with a megaphone and doesn’t care if anyone comes with him or not for support, but I always do. This is the man who tried to ram his wheelchair into John Fahey, the NSW Premier’s shins, because he, John Fahey, was being the usual mongrel. I am proud of and love this man beyond reason at times and the opposite at others, so what was I to do when he turned his flashy smile on me? What I usually do, give in.

“What do you reckon?” he said. Knowing that the question was not meant to be answered. Wishing I was anywhere else, inwardly I groaned. Try groaning inwardly - it starts in the roof of your mouth and goes back down your throat only to be swallowed like a blob, rather than the opposite which is an outward groan.

“There’s a bit of wind up high Don.” I said searching the tops of the trees vainly for any movement at all. They were as still as if they were painted. “ If we get caught Don, they’ll write it up in the Court Reports in the local paper and everyone will read it...I always do...its the best part of the paper. But it’ll be me who gets the blame, plus a big fine. They won’t touch you.” I knew that this wouldn’t convince him, but the game had to be played out for propriety.

He chuckled at the thought of my getting the blame.

“We’re not all that popular with a few people in town, we’re bound to be dobbed in.” I think I may have been almost pleading by this. But I knew my mentioning those certain people that didn’t like us,(I wonder why)   dobbing us in would make him even more determined.

He sat there implacably and smiled back at me in the gathering gloom,
“Can you spray the back of my neck there are mozzies everywhere.”

I agreed to light the fire as long as he sat there till it died down, figuring it would be about an hour and a half. He had rung the Council earlier and been told that they wanted $75 just for the bit of paper required to light the fire. We also knew that it would cost us about $150 plus by the time we hired a tip truck to take it to the tip and also paid the Tip fees.

The Scot in him had a lot to do with why we were lighting this fire. There was a lot of money involved and no one would ever dream of helping out with a pile this big...not for free anyway. There was only one course of action, for a Mackay, whose ancestors had survived the cold of the wilds of Scotland covered only in blue tattoos.

So giving up as we both knew I would, I lit the fire in as many places as I could to hurry it up. I crepe bandaged the hose to Don’s hand so he could sit there, enjoy his pyromania and also be his own little responsible citizen...”yes officer, I am keeping an eye on it”. I imagined him declaring, when we were finally caught which I felt sure would happen.

The wind picked up and sparks swirled up into the canopy. My head swam with thoughts of our house burning down whilst we slept because of one of these sparks lodging under the eaves. I also have a vivid imagination when our kids are driving out on the highway, seeing legions of semi trailers crashing into them or their spinning out over the edge of a mountain, after hitting a pot hole. The phone calls I’ve made to them when they come down off the city trains at night, “Carry your capsicum spray in your hand, its no good in your bag. Give them a good blast and run like hell.” words delivered more to allay my fears than theirs. So my mind was really firing.

We started watering down the roaring fire, and wads, not clouds, but wads of thick solid smoke tunnelled upwards in whatever direction the wind decided to turn. Then the wind would stop completely and the fire became almost pleasurable. MY face got redder and hotter and my long hair spiked out like a Medusa. I had had time to don those comfortable dress, minus bra, and being no sylph, I would have done a fishwife proud. Don always cool and calm, maintained control, absolute control...

“Push that bit of wood there...light that bit there...wet down that tree there” - we have two hoses. Don says to say here that this is an exageration but it is commonly known that the memory of men is always biased and unreliable.

Finally as the hour and half dragged into two and a half hours and the fire still billowing, Don said,
“Go inside the house and see if we have some Kero and some more matches, we’ve got to hurry this up or we’ll be here all night.” He was tiring, the novelty almost all gone.

After ferreting about I was about to bowl down the front ramp waving the pyrotechnic devices, when through the bushes I saw a paddy wagon with POLICE and flashing blue lights.

“Hell! Now what do I do?” Here’s Don the noble Quadriplegic outside sitting in the dark, strapped to a hose all alone what a pathetic sight for anyone to come upon. No way was I coming out of the house unless they came and got me.

Don told me later that the policewoman got out of the wagon with a big smile on her face. I guess it is better than dealing with the common muck they get to deal with. Don’s comments to the two police about having a barbecue must have rocked them with laughter back in the station. I could hear the police woman laughing even now as I hid like the irresponsible citizen I was.  No sausages at all graced our inferno. He lamely and no doubt with that same smile, told her, “We did ring Council” but of course didn’t add that we didn’t have permission. I would imagine that he pretended innocence, depending on the fact that most people assume that all disabled people are unworldly. He’s good at this and you have to use what you’ve got. As they were leaving, I slunk out like a whipped dog, with empty hands - of course.

“No charges, no jail for me tonight.”

As the paddy wagon was about to turn out onto the road, we heard a siren far off. I looked at Don and said that it sounded like a fire engine. He said, “No its going somewhere else”. It got closer and closer, and dramatically closer, and soon the paddy wagon was giving way to a large red engine with about six men in it, as it idled down our driveway. The neighbours would be very entertained no doubt by all of this.

I was very sheepish, knowing they had to know I was the ‘lightee’ even if Don was actually the real crime boss. My face blazing pink with heat and embarrassment, whites of my eyes almost cooking from the heat and hair now plastered to my face with sweat. I look like a lawbreaker, and I was a lawbreaker. Whilst Don sat there as the firemen all milled around him smiling and amused asking,
“Where’s the marshmallows? We thought there was a house on fire!” Unless there was to be a sting in the tail of their amusement, it looked as if no one was going to be in the Court Report, and I relaxed a bit, till...from the other direction, Wauchope, I heard a siren. It got closer and closer, and finally as with the first one it turned into our driveway. I looked at Don as if to say,....

What could I say?

They all got together and pulled out their flat pushing shovels and heaped the fire into a smaller area so it would burn quicker. I hung back recognising those peculiar male signals of blokiness, humour and camaraderie which are very fragile and if upset could see me paying a huge council fine. Most of them almost young enough to be the same age as our kids.

“Play dumb Therese.” I thought imagining what we pair must look like, wondering what in hell they thought this poor disabled man, was doing strapped to a hose whilst his trashy and common looking wife was obviously so in control of the fire, illegally lit.

Then they were all gone. The darkness was a balm and I needed it. Don was just amused. I wonder sometimes if he is as calm as he appears to be in front of others.

I did get my shower, and my long cool drink and I deserved and savoured it. The fire smouldered for days. No summons arrived, no fine in the mail. A good nights work, and a lot of money saved.

A new  gargantuan pile of whole tree boughs, off cuts, leaves, sticks and myriad other combustibles is sitting in the centre of the yard under the tall and very combustible gum trees. It is almost winter now, but the ominous feeling I get when I consider another fire is an unmistakable feeling that grows, as the pile grows.

I’ve seen Don sitting out there in the winter sun contemplating looking dreamily at the doubt imagining past glories. I’ve made sure there is no kerosene, and no matches, and I pray for lots of rain.

Passing the buck.

Passing the buck!!! Its enough to make you sick.
This happened in Sydney Australia. Blacktown is in the poorer part of Sydney. No doubt if it happened on the North Shore heads would roll.
We threw baby away say Hospital.
Daily Telegraph 2/6/06
THE heartbroken parents of the stillborn baby girl who went missing from a Sydney hospital are bracing themselves for the worst possible news - their daughter was accidentally thrown away.
Blacktown Hospital's most senior executive has told the family the most likely scenario is the baby was disposed of in "a tragic mistake".
The 33-year-old mother from Western Sydney gave birth to a girl she later named Angelina in an ambulance on the way to Blacktown Hospital three weeks ago.
Nine days later she was told by a hospital priest that the baby had "gone missing".
The Daily Telegraph yesterday asked Western Sydney Area Health Service chief executive Stephen Boyages if he expected the investigation would conclude Angelina had been disposed of and he was forced to concede this was the most likely scenario.
"I have indicated to the parents that is my expectation," he said.
"We unreservedly apologise for what appears to be a tragic mistake."
The distressed father of the baby said yesterday the family is desperate for an explanation.
"We don't know who we can trust. We can't trust anybody," he said.
The family said they had come to terms with the death of their daughter but could never recover from the loss of her body and added "life could not be that cruel".
"We have nothing left," they said in a statement. Angelina's parents are owed answers about her disappearance, New South Wales Premier Morris Iemma said today.
Mr Iemma sent his condolences to the family and reiterated an apology delivered by Health Minister John Hatzistergos yesterday.
"This is a terrible tragedy and again I want to reinforce the apology of the minister and extend my condolences for this tragedy," Mr Iemma said on Macquarie Radio.
"What we need is to get to the bottom of what happened and the family is owed (that)."
"That's why we've got an investigation. The family's owed that. They're owed truthful answers and we are determined to ensure that they get it."
Despite four investigations into the disappearance, Blacktown Hospital is still clueless as to how the mistake could have been made and are calling the blunder "a systems error".
"Our systems have not been strong enough," Professor Boyages said.
"We will leave no stone uncovered until we determine how this situation can arise."
Yet The Daily Telegraph understands hospital staff knew the baby was missing on May 19 - five days after she was born - but did not tell the family until three days later.
Opposition spokeswoman Jillian Skinner said the baby's disappearance has been "shrouded in secrecy".
An internal hospital report was handed to the State Government last Friday but was unable to even get the baby's birthdate or age correct.
"We know the birthdate was May 14, we know that the baby was stillborn at 24 weeks," Professor Boyages said.
But the mother actually gave birth on May 13 and has said Angelina was 28 weeks old.
An investigation is being conducted by an independent party who will deliver their findings on Tuesday.
Professor Boyages said if the finding is that Angelina was thrown away by mistake there is no way of proving how and when it happened.
Angelina's father said the last time they saw their daughter was when she was taken from the arms of her sleeping mother, hours after she was stillborn on the way to hospital.
"All we want is answers. That's all. Political promises don't mean anything," he said.
with additional reporting from AAP

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Wild Waves in Me

Wild Waves in Me.
I long with a hunger, to be like the wild waves.
To thunder and crash and rumble my days.
To lap gently onto the hot sands.
To claw like a Demon, with hoary old hands.

I long to travel the ages and spaces across the shoreline.
To go with the wind; to bask in sunshine.
To rise up like a  phallus of change, violent and stormy.
To sink soft-like into the vortex of Earth's womb, warmly.

From my spot on this beach, the waves seem so free.
Like the voice of my youth, they are pulling at me.
Like ropes round my wrists they are dragging me down.
And I'm in a trance, wrapped in wave sound.

The waves will come in big and out waves will go.
But are they more free than the life that I know?
For me, with my feet I am much freer still.
For me with my own mind, I have a free will.

Although like the waves, I am governed by the Moon,
I can decide my own life; I do call the tune.
The wild waves are but prisoners of pressure and tide,
While I am a free soul, my conscience the Guide.

I am part of the wild waves that explode at my feet.
A part of the ocean; part of all I will meet.
A part of the tides, that will govern my life;
Apart I am nothing, I am Woman, Daughter, Mother and Wife.

I Am the wild wave, I Am sucked into the sea.
My feet may be anchored, but my mind it is free.
My heart may be bound, with the tides of my Caring.
My days may seem stolid, no adventures - no daring.

But I have the power of all waves that have rumbled.
I've trod in man's kingdoms, long gone and crumbled.
I've held to my breast, Earth's children in their slumber,
I've lived so many lives, lives without number.

Ah! But I still long with the same hunger, to be like the wild waves.
Their salt flows in my veins, and will cover my graves.
They will wash over all my little treasures, from times yet to come.
They'll carry me back to where all waves come from.

Oxide Tor

Oxide Tor

At the top of Oxide Hill was a large stone Tor. The stone was red-brown tinged, stained over the centuries by the windborne red oxide powder, mined in the land beneath the hill.

So many generations had mined the red oxide which lay for acres around Oxide Hill, that the inhabitants appeared to have a permanent reddish cast to their skin and hair. A stranger would think he had discovered a new race of people. So ingrained and total was this staining, that unless he was privileged to see one of the new babies, who were too young to even crawl, he would go away with stories of this strange race of humans, the like of which was seen no where else on earth. These babies were pale, their skins almost translucent. Their hair was blonde to light brown, with the occasional redhead amongst them, bearing a different sort of red than that of the tribe's people. The eyes of the babies were wide and blue, the same colour as that of the adults, but because of the dust and glare the adults went about with eyes barely opened wide enough to see, thus enhancing the all over reddish appearance which was seen as beautiful.

At the edge of the red oxide fields, were small solid stone homes of one and two stories. These were where the oxide miners and their families lived. This was a privileged spot, and to be a miner was a privilege, of late being granted mainly to those whose fathers were miners, or who were born with the red hair colouring. A sign of God's blessing. Further out lived the craftsmen, the tradesmen, and the clerks and politicians. In this society this was the least privileged position as it was furthest from the Tor on Oxide Hill.

The priest and priestesses lived in large airy stone temples around the Tor itself, so that they constantly were in touch with its powers.

On festival days, all class dissolved and all who were able, went down at the first light of dawn, and bathed in the warm mineral springs, in the large caves at the base of Oxide Hill. They decorated each other with brilliant blue colours, of paint, glass and precious stones. Perfume was placed in oil cones around the necks, and on the women fantastic coloured shapes and styles woven into brilliant green strips of silk were threaded in and out their thick long hair. As the day wore on this would melt and leave sweet smelling rivulets of green coloured oil down hair, body and dress. Each person donned a knee length, simple but dazzlingly white linen shift. All went barefoot in deference to the soft red powder they were to walk over.

At noon, after feasting on fruits cake and wine, the people gathered at the mouth of the cave. The huge Tor at the top of Oxide Hill would begin to vibrate, and all would hear with their ears, and feel through their feet a low humming. Those with the sight would see a brazen blue light shooting out in darts and sparks from the surfaces of the Tor, whilst from the top a white gold luminescence appeared to pulse in time with the humming.

For the stranger, viewing from the distance it was eerie and very beautiful. To see the stone Tor, reddish grey, surrounded by blue and white gold, was something one could talk about for the rest of life. But to see it set in the lush dark green of the rich grasses and trees which grew all over Oxide hill was like seeing a vision of what heaven might be like. Then to see the people in their hundreds, first and then thousands, slowly inch their colourful way around the thin red paths which spiralled evenly around Oxide Hill, ascending to the Tor, and to hear the music, of the voices in harmony with the deep humming of the Tor was magical.

This ceremony ended happily about sunset, when the people, refreshed and energised by their ritual, would come tumbling, and dancing down the spiralling path, to bathe once again in the waters, and then to lie about the rock shelves in front of the caves, picnicking, drinking, laughing and 'tall tale telling' till all finally slept, except for those who found more physical games to play. Many babies were conceived on this night, which took place every full moon, on every full moon of the year.

No one outside ever got to hear or see the ceremony at the top of Oxide Hill, but what we know of it comes from the stories of those strangers who witnessed from a distance these happenings and then told and re told them down through the centuries.

There is still plenty of red oxide around Oxide Hill. It is worn down and barely worthy of the name hill now. The Tor is long gone, but the stories remain amongst the elders, of the gentle people who lived here long before, and who mined the oxide and regenerated and refreshed the earth hereabouts with their understanding of the natural laws of earth.

It is told that the Earth will begin to hum again as the descendants of these people from a million years ago begin the journey back to Oxide Hill, unknowing of their destiny and heritage, but pulled by the power of the Tor, inexorably through the generations.