It’s a free writing day. Let it all hang out. Even if you think it’s stupid. Just roll along. OK here goes.

Day nineteen, only tomorrow left to go. Just one more day to go, twenty four hours to go. Tomorrow, Day Twenty. Zero hour.

These days, life seems to be made up of a continuum of ‘ only one more day to go’!

For example. Only one more day to go before registration for the Harley Rally closes. Only one more day to go before interest on the investment is paid. Only one more day to go before interest on the mortgage is due. Only one more day to go before the exams start. Only one more day to go before the exam results are published. Only one more day to go before the new boss takes over. Only one more day to go before the accounts have to be in order. Only one more day to go before the car’s registration is due. Only one more day to go before we go on holidays. Only one more day to go before Charlie and Sharon come to stay.

Christ all Bloody Mighty, not them again.

Here I was thinking that thoughts of ‘only one more day to go’ could be put to rest and bugger me, Charlie and Sharon come into the picture.

Now all I can think of is, Only one more day to go before I have to put up with Charlie grizzling about Sharon’s weight. Only one more day to go before I have to put up with Sharon grizzling about Charlie’s beer gut. Only one more day to go before having my wife worry herself sick  about keeping the bathrooms clean because Charlie is a messer. Only one more day to go before I know I’ll be wishing Charlie to hell because he is mixing up all my tools in the shed. Only one more day to go wishing today was the day.

Suddenly, one more day to go became the day before one more day to go. Charlie and Sharon left early this morning. I overheard Sharon say to Charlie, ‘If I have one more day to go in this place  I’ll kill her’. I knew she was referring to the woman next door who kept looking over the fence and saying to Sharon, ‘One day I’ll have a nice car like yours’, or, ‘One day I’ll come down and visit you’, or ‘One day I’ll go on a cruise up the Danube’. I found myself thinking, ‘One more day of this and I’ll do something stupid’. The only good thing was she never said’ One more day to go’!

Anyway, Charlie and Sharon have gone, the old duck next door has gone inside, my wife has gone to golf , I’m home alone to do as I bloody well like and I thought to myself,’ Christ I hope I can have one more day to go and enjoy this’!

Only one more day.


Today’s prompt, write today’s story in the first person as told by a twelve year old boy.

I couldn’t believe it. Mom and Dad had gone off to work and left me at home as I pretended to them that I was too sick to go to school. I’d fooled them alright cause Mom rang the school and told them I wouldn’t be there today. She left me lunch and all, and Dad said he’d get home early and told me to stay warm.

Anyway I’d put on the show because I wanted to see what was going to happen with the old bird across the street.

I heard Dad and Mom talking about her and how she was going to be tossed out of her house because the bloke that owned it wanted to knock it down and build a new place or flats. Dad reckoned that since her old man had kicked the bucket the old sheilah had no money and had got behind in the rent.

I couldn’t care less about the old bird, I didn’t like her and she didn’t like me. Every time I kicked a ball and it went into her front yard she’d almost blow a fuse when I ran over to get it back.

I was glad she was getting shoved out.  The best part was that Dad reckoned the cops would be there to help the bloke who owned the place get rid of her. I felt sorry for her dog though, it was a black thing, quite big but real friendly and used to lick me every time it got out and came over to our place for a feed. I reckoned to myself that I’d get it and bring it over to our back yard and hang on to it.

From my perch on the front verandah I could see her place real good. I had some Pepsi and some chips and settled down to wait for the fun to start.

I didn’t have to wait too long. I heard the bloke on the radio say it was just going 11o’clock and almost to the minute, a ute pulled up and a big bloke carrying a pile of papers got out and went up the steps and knocked on the old girl’s door.

I was amazed how quick it happened. The door swung open and she pushed the bloke off the verandah with a mighty shove. The she reached inside, pulled out a broom and whacked him over the head. It was terrific, bloody better than TV.

The bloke jumped up and rushed back to ute, jumped in and slammed the door. I thought he was going to shoot through but when the old girl went back inside and shut the door he got out of the ute and jumped on his mobile phone.

Not long after that two cops in uniform turned up in a van and the three of them went up to the door. I was waiting for the fireworks to start and they sure did. She gave one of the cops a great whack with the broom handle before the other one grabbed her and took the broom off her.

I couldn’t hear what they were saying but there was lots of shouting and she was struggling like mad.

I saw the bloke with the papers hand some of them to her and some of them to the coppers and I saw him reading to her.

Then, the cops put her in the front seat of the van and buckled her in. She was quiet by then and as the cop shut the door I could see she was holding onto the papers. Then the  cop who got the whack got into the drivers seat and the other cop got into the cage at the back. I thought that was cool, doing that for her.

They drove her away, to the cop shop probably, anyway, I never saw her again.

The bloke with the papers went inside and a bit later came around from the back dragging the dog and he just got it through the gate, left it there and went back down the drive.

The dog hung around and then came over to our place. I grabbed it by the neck and took it round the back.

The old bird’s house got knocked down a month or so later on and there is a real beaut place there now. A couple of kids house live there and we go to the same school. It doesn’t matter now if I kick my ball into their yard cause if the kids are there they kick it back and if not I just go over and get it, no probs, its just cool bananas.

Oh yair, and the black dog has settled in real good and Dad and Mom reckon it was real decent of the old girl to give it to me.


Today’s prompt, what are your worst fears?

As a young lad, living near a surfing beach and being a strong swimmer, I joined the local surf life saving club. We put out flags on the beach to show swimmers where it was relatively safe to swim, no sand bars, no rips and in general, the perfect place to enjoy a swin. The one thing we could not give information about was the presence of sharks.

Some sharks are a danger to man, others, like our Grey Nurse or the poor old Wobbeygong are present but pose little or no danger.

The constant carping about sharks in the press caused me to develop not only a dislike of them but also a feeling of apprehension when I entered the water, particularly on a dull, miserable sort of a day.

Then, one day when a group off us were doing our ocean swim training about 3 or 4 hundred yards off the beach, the shark alarm siren sounded. I was then about 17 years old. We got into a huddle and one of the old blokes( he was probably about 25 ) simply said that we would all be ok, there had never been a shark attack at our beach and we should just turn around, stick together and swim back quietly to the beach without too much splashing. That is exactly what we did, and no untoward incidents occurred.

Was my fear of sharks quelled? Partially.

They did disappear totally though after I took up SCUBA diving. I had numerous encounters and after a while, still careful though, my fears evaporated.

Then, as a mature man, I spent over 35 years in an occupation that can sometimes be extremely dangerous.

In those situations, I found the surge of adrenalin quickly kicked in, there was no time to think about fear, all senses concentrated on resolving the issue at hand.

When everything was settled, mostly peacefully, sometimes not, and the paper work was completed, we would retire to the nearest licensed establishment and relax with a few beers and discuss what we did well, what was not done quite so well and how we would do the job next time.

Fear? No. Need for counsellors? No.. Our concerns were for our own safety of course and that of the public. In addition, we never disregarded the safety of the individual or individuals who were the cause of all the fuss.

Present fears, only that no one will bother to read this blog.


Today’s prompt: imagine you had a job in which you had to sift through forgotten or lost belongings and describe a day in which you came across something peculiar. Time to start right now.

Back in the dream time, as a young bloke gaining the necessary skills to be a success in my chosen profession, the powers that be believed in starting us at the bottom. That’s why all of us beginners knew that toilet cleaning would be our first task on arriving at work.

You were lucky indeed if your found a pair of rubber gloves or even a loo that hadn’t been occupied by blokes with intestinal troubles.

I must have been an effective operator because I was soon tasked with an ‘exciting’ job.

Sifting through what was known as ‘miscellaneous property’ became my new task. Sorting through the mounds of ‘stuff’ was hardly mind boggling. However, finding clues to owners became an intriguing exercise.

Wallets provided few challenges as most contained owner particulars of some kind.

However, one morning when I opened the ‘miscellaneous property’ drawer I found a new and unexpected item. There in all its splendour was a full upper denture, complete with a glistening front gold tooth.

Its only extra was a stick on tag indicating it had been found, all alone, in the early hours of that morning at our building’s front door.

Here was a golden opportunity to show the boss I could rise above the mundane work as the ‘miscellaneous property’ sifter and I entered into my clue discovery mode with enthusiasm.

I visited all the local shelters and hostels looking for the male owner of the teeth. No luck. Why a toothless man? No one at work had seen or heard of a toothless woman around our area. Toothless man, quite a few. Same story at the nearby public hospitals. Next I carted the teeth around to local dentists where no recognition of the teeth occurred.

I also visited the sole major dental hospital and saw the staff that create these dental prosthesis items.

No luck there anyway. So, what to do now?

The answer to that question was taken out of my hands by three occurrences.

Firstly, a poor old bloke, down on his luck turned up at the counter, minus his upper teeth. He’d been told at one of the hostels where his lost upper teeth could be. Sure enough, when I showed them to him, he whacked them immediately into his mouth, tag and all. I could see they were a great fit.

Then without saying a word, he scratched his name in the ‘miscellaneous property book’ against the toothy entry I’d shown to him and left in a rush.

Secondly, I was called up to see the boss who gave men a tongue lashing for wasting so much time on a set of false teeth. Then he laughed and told me he found it amusing and couldn’t wait to tell his mates at the Rotary Club.

Finally, he told me that I was being moved to the first floor where I would have to do real work.

He thought it was a punishment . Not by me though because it was the fulfilment of a dream.  All I wanted to do was carry out the work undertaken by the staff on the first floor.

The lessons I learned from my ‘miscellaneous property’ sifting, and particularly the teeth incident have stuck with me ever since. The teeth themselves were not important to me but their story was. Unfortunately I never learned the story of the teeth, nor of their owner.

Since that poor old bloke claimed his missing teeth, I’ve always had a soft spot for individuals who seem to be down on their luck, for whatever reason.

We all start out with dreams and aspirations. Some of us are lucky and live the dream. For some though, things go sour.

If only we knew their story.


Today’s prompt, in abbreviated form is simply write, in your own voice, how you feel about an event you’ve attended and loved, only to find out it’s being cancelled forever.

So, here we go.

Some years ago I found out, quite by accident, that my favourite Chapter of the Harley Owners Group, close to home, was being closed and moved to a country town almost 150 miles away.

It wasn’t the distance that got under my skin. 150 miles on your favourite brand of motor cycle is just a pleasing jaunt.

No, what got under my skin was being told that the reason I didn’t know was that I was ‘Out of the Loop’.

Also, the prospect of losing touch with my riding mates from the old Chapter was of concern to me. Of course there was another Chapter to welcome us all, but, old habits die hard and I knew that many of the blokes, including myself, would resist joining up with the other mob. After all, we’d been their opponents for years at gymkhanas and what was known as the Chapter Challenge, an annual event where competition was fierce.

As our Chapter’s closing date became closer, the rot really began to set in. Our close knit group began to disintegrate. Some just joined the other Chapter without a parting word. One or two just sold their bikes in disgust and were never seen nor heard of again. Some even announced they would never in a million years join the opposition.

At a few informal meetings, we’d loosely agreed to have our own independent riding group without affiliation to any Chapter and attend State and National HOG rallies with our international HOG membership as accreditation. In my view, It seemed like a great idea.

Now I’ve been around a while and not much surprises me any more. What did surprise me though, and peeved me no end was the cavalier attitude the so called ‘mates’ were taking with each other over the supposed continuation of our riding together. It appeared to me that no one was going to take the lead and organise something.

I’d been left high and dry by the ‘mates’ after I tried to get them out on our first independent group ride and I wasn’t going to let it happen again. It was then I reluctantly concluded our loose riding  agreement was just ‘pie in the sky’, just empty words.

What to do now? Email the lot of them and tell them what I thought, visit the ones I thought I knew and try to keep the ship afloat or simply do what every one else was doing and quietly fade away.

Thinking things over, I realised that the decision to close the Chapter was simply a matter of economics for the dealership under whose banner the Chapter operated.

Further I concluded that as a voice in the wilderness I had as much chance of keeping the ‘mates’ together as a riding group as I had of flying to the moon. No one would give a hoot if I made one hell of a fuss, or, like the others, just walked away. After all, if they didn’t miss each other, why would they miss me.

Then I decided to do a SWOT analysis of my situation. SWOT by the way stands for Strengths and  Weaknesses; Opportunities and Threats.

Briefly, after using up a forest of paper, I worked out that being a loner, one of my strengths could also be a weakness. In this particular case, loner was a strength, not a weakness. I’m a bit of an egotist too so couldn’t find any weaknesses. Opportunities, plenty, particularly as I’d have more time to ride with long time friends. Note, friends, not ‘mates’. I scratched my head and couldn’t come up with any threats.

My conclusion, stick with the long time friends. Should any of the the old chapter ‘mates’ invite me to go for a ride, I was under no obligation to accept the invitation.

I felt good having taken my decision and it’s proved to be the right one. Not only then but many years later it still is.

Looking back on it all, I sometimes ask myself, how do you feel about those past events?

My answer,  I’m completely ambivalent about the whole issue because, in the overall scheme of things it’s absolutely irrelevant.

Oh and by the way, I joined the ‘other chapter’ after a few years. This time I’ve stayed on the outside looking in. It suits me that way, no obligation yet all of the advantages of membership.

You see, I did learn something from my ‘mates’ in the old chapter.


I opened my copy of HF Radio for Travellers at page 29 as instructed. The first word to jump off the page was, ‘Capabilities’. So, here we go with the reasons I penned my letter, to whom it was directed, and the final outcome.

I live in a small town called Woop Woop. Trades people here are few on the ground and work out of town on contract, making it impossible to get skilled help when you needs it. I found myself in the situation where I needed a plumber, and fast.

I thought I was lucky when I saw an add on TV for a company calling itself Capabilities Unlimited. Their add advised they had plumbers, carpenters, mechanics and every type of tradesman any householder could need. The add also said that one phone call was all that was required and help to anywhere, to fix any problem, would be on the way, ASAP. All work guaranteed.

I called their emergency helpline, outlined the urgent need for a plumber and the switch girl said one would be with me by 7am the next day, Wednesday.

The ensuing disaster is fully covered in the letter I wrote to Capabilities Unlimited and this is what I wrote, minus my full address, title and other personal details I know you are not interested in.

                                     TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN.


I refer to my previous seven letters concerning the matters referred to above. To refresh the brain of the dim wit to whom my previous correspondence has been directed, here is a precise of the reasons for my original call to your ‘organisation:

1          Clogged sewage lines.

2         Clogged drains.

3          Domestic Water pipes not running.

Only one positive arose from my contact with your ‘mob’ and that is the first tradesman arrived, as promised, AM, on the Wednesday after my call. I stress  AM  as he arrived 1 minute prior to noon.

After a very quick inspection he agreed that the three problems required immediate attention. He explained to me that excavation of the problem pipes would be required and assistance was needed for that task. He left in his truck saying he would be back forthwith.

Forthwith turned out to be just after noon the following day, Thursday. With no apology to me, he, accompanied by a crew of two others unloaded what appeared to be a bob cat with a hoe attached, kn locked down my front fence and immediately started digging up the front yard. I rushed out to stop them as the electricity cables are underground in this area, as are all of the utilities.

My entreaties were ignored, the hoe was dropped and trenching down to what appeared to be about 6 feet started.

Work didn’t go on for long. First, a fifty foot high water spout sprung into the air, followed by a flash and a large bang resulting in the bob cat immediately stopping and catching fire.

I couldn’t ring the fire brigade because the telephone cables had been severed as well.

As a result, your bob cat was destroyed,  two of your staff were conveyed to hospital with burns and the other individual was in such a state of shock that he was incapable of speech or movement.

Fortunately, my neighbour who had called the fire brigade and the ambulance, also called the utility companies and they arrived in quick time and took control of the situation.

By 7pm that night, the utility companies had rectified the three problems I’ve set out about and also reconnected my telephone. All at no charge to me as they will be billing your company direct.

I’m writing to tell you again that I will not be paying the accounts you have sent to me on seven different occasions. I have paid you the courtesy of outlining my reasons in the seven previous letters I have sent you.

You will be aware that I have not lodged a claim against Capabilities Unlimited for nervous stress, damage to my property and for compensation for the total inconvenience your so called tradesmen caused me.

However, my brother has suggested I do so, based upon your total disregard for my circumstances, your neglect to reply to my correspondence and the provision of incompetent personnel to carry out the tasks for which I had contacted your organisation.

He informed me that I have excellent grounds to receive a significant settlement.

As he is a Judge of the High Court, I think he has given me the correct advice. He has also referred me to an excellent attorney who will be handling my matter, pro bono, and will no doubt seek costs when the matter is settled in our favour.

By the way, everyone living in Woop Woop is doing their very best to make all their families and acquaintances aware of the lack of capabilities offered by Capabilities Unlimited.

I signed the letter in the usual business like manner and posted it.

So there we are, that was my eighth letter to the company and on this occasion they replied. I’m not at liberty to reveal the terms of their confidential settlement, suffice to say I’ll be going on a world trip next month and upon my return, leasing out my cottage and moving into my new condo overlooking Grand Central Park, NYC.



It’s 10am on Wednesday the 22nd April and I’m sitting in a down town cafe waiting for a mate to join me for coffee. He’s late as usual and I can guess his lame brain excuse. He forgets that he uses it every time.

He’s a really big bloke and never just comes in, he always bursts in. Today was no different except he had company. He was with a codger who looked old enough to be his father.

Before I had a chance to say anything, my mate plopped down in a chair, beckoned to the old bloke to do the same and said to him,”  This is Max, I told you about him on the way over”. My mate then half turned to me and smiled out the side of his mouth but still didn’t acknowledge me verbally.  The old fellow just looked me up and down. His face was expressionless, he just licked his lips.

When the lip licking was finished, the old bloke, whose name I still didn’t know said,”He looks OK to me, not the stupid bastard you described”. I felt my hackles begin to rise but I kept my peace. My so called ‘mate’ said,” Looks can be deceiving, he is quite devious, you can never tell when you’ve got him, he’s a clever lying bastard”.

I nearly broke in to their conversation but kept my mouth shut, waiting to hear what was going to come next. I didn’t have to wait long. My ‘mate’, talking to no one in particular said,”I’ll go order the coffee, short black for you”, he said, looking to his elderly companion.”Yair”, was the reply.

The big bloke rose from the table and I heard him give the order to the girl behind the cash register.

On his return, he again ignored me and addressed his comment to the old man,” We come here almost every day. It gets damn boring, hearing his yarns over and over again, month in and month out. I don’t know how much longer I can put up with it”.

Something told me to keep a lid on my rising anger. The old bloke said to my mate,” Well, I haven’t heard him say a bloody word since we got here”.

There was a short pause in their conversation as three cups of coffee suddenly arrived at the table. Short black for the old boy, cappuccino for my erstwhile ‘mate’ and the same for me. My ‘mate’ had obviously paid for the three of us.

“Pitty you can’t take a leaf out of his book then”, was the mate’s reply to the old chap. My ‘mate’ continued,” I wanted you to meet Max because the two of you are like bloody twins. You never shut up and neither does he. At least with Max he’s not a bull shitter like you. When I said he was devious, a liar and you could never tell when you had him, I was really describing you”.

Before either the old bloke or myself had a chance to say anything, my ‘mate’ kept up his running commentary on the old blokes apparent faults. “I promised my mother I’d pop in and see you  every day as she used to do before she couldn’t do it any more. Well for the last ten years I’ve heard the same stories from you almost every day. I know that it’s just make believe but that doesn’t make it any easier to listen to. At least Max’s yarns have an element of truth about them. You are just a plain old pain pain the arse”.

With that I saw that the old boy’s lip began to quiver and I thought he was about to burst into tears.

I couldn’t hold back, things had gone too far, I just had to interrupt. I tapped my ‘mate’on the shoulder, he had his back half turned to me, and I said angrily to him,” That’s enough, you’ve not had the decency to introduce me to your guest, you’ve insulted me and now you’re insulting him.  Why don’t you just piss off”!

With that, the two of them burst out laughing, great smiles on their faces. The old bloke said to me,”I’ve known him for years, his father and I were great mates. One day he told me what a practical joker you are and how he wanted to get back at you for the last great trick you played on him, but he didn’t know how. I put him up to today’s bit of fun. It’s worked like a beauty. He really got you going’.

My mate, now reinstated from erstwhile status, offered his hand to me and said,” Now we’re equal, no harm done, just a bit of fun, I’ll buy you a beer to make up for it”.

What could I say?  I shook his hand and said,” good one, I’d no idea that you two were’t fair dinkum. Let’ go to the pub.”

We finished our coffee and off we went.

If my mate thinks that’s the end of it, he’s very much mistaken. I’ve got a ripper of an equaliser in mind.


I finished Day 4, Serially lost, part three with the image of an Harley rider wearing a kilt whilst riding his bike. When I made this image at parade, they were riding slowly and their kilts were not flapping  about. Had they been, the crowd would have found the answer to the classic question, ‘What does a Scotsman wear under his kilt’. It would have been obvious to everyone.

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I added that at a later date I’d refer back to the kilted Harley Rider. Little did I know that Day 13 would provide me with that opportunity, so here we go.

It was the Harley Owners Group National Australian Rally that had brought me to Alice Springs.

I’d hoped to get there with plenty of time to find my mates from our Monaro HOG Chapter and I found I did get there in plenty of time.

I was really fortunate in The Alice. Firstly, I found good accommodation not too far from the rally site.

Then, in Todd Mall, dead in the heart of Alice Springs, I found a good spot amongst  the crown to wait for the parade of Harley riders to pass by.

The rumbling sound of Harley exhausts let the crowd know that the riders were approaching and suddenly there they were, to be found behind their obliging police escort vehicle.


As Harleys’ do, they delighting the crowd whom had found time to gather in the mall.

Then, along came members of the Monaro Chapter, resplendent in our bright orange T shirts. The standout colour made them easy to find amongst the other riders.

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My Chapter mate in the above image had a look of surprise on his face when he found me, camera in hand, in the Todd Mall crowd. He’d obviously forgotten that I’d told him where to find me.

After the parade was finished everyone moved on to the banks of the Todd River that runs through the middle of The Alice.

The Todd is famous for the ‘Henly on Todd Regatta’, an annual event held in the river. In the river does not mean,’in the river’. It really means, where the Todd occasionally has a bit of water in it or is in flood. For the rest of the time  the ‘river’ is as dry as a bone.

Again, I was able to find a great spot to watch the various Harley Owner Groups( HOG) compete in our own Harley section of the Henly on Todd Regatta.

Scanning the crowd through my 200 mm lens I found my mates lolling about on the far bank. I found it easiest to sneak a few long distance shots of them before I wandered over.

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Searching in my camera bag, I found my 24-70mm lens and switched over to it. By the time I’d made the switch I was surprised to find that the group had split up to grab a grab a bit to eat. I have always made it my practice to ask before I take ‘portrait’ style  images of people. This time around, most of the blokes found an excuse and knocked back the opportunity to be recorded for posterity. I found it very strange indeed.

I searched my memory and couldn’t find any other occasion upon which such outrageous excuses had been found by people to avoid being photographed.

Only one couple found the time to be photographed.

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After looking at my watch, I found that I had only an hour or so left to photograph the action before I was due to meet up with some long time residents of The Alice for dinner. I thought I’d need a bit of time to find the venue so I excused myself from the Monaro gang and found my way back to my view point from where I made a few images of the regatta  before finding my way back to my accommodation to clean up ready for dinner.

Later, as I downloaded my images to the lap top, I found that I’d misjudged the light and as a consequence, quite a few of the shots found their way into the post process file. I knew I would find them once I got back home.

I hope that anyone reading this will find it interesting and if they look hard enough, will surely find the mistakes I found amongst the images I revived from the posts process file. After a bit of work, they did find their way into the Alice Springs album. All of the images that are follow here I found in the Alice file..

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This is the starting gate for the Henly on Todd Regatta. Note the name. I’ve found that things are a lot more relaxed in the Northern Territory. Political correctness is sometimes allowed to take a back seat.

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As you can see, even the kids find time to enjoy the Regatta.

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The lady members of the Blacktown HOG Chapter put on a sterling show but found the going heavy in the sand and came a cropper. This let the organisers find the grounds for their disqualification.

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I found many more images too but on reflection I thought viewers would find too many photos a bit tedious.  As a consequence, what you find here is all you are going to get.

If you find that a bit rough, find yourself another blog to read.

Hoo roo  for now.


Where did you live when you were twelve?

Quite a journey of unpleasant recall for me. I spent my early childhood on the move with mum and day because of his work.  Where was I at age twelve?

Now for today’s twist, use short, medium and long sentences to compose the response . So, here goes.

For three years, up until I was aged nine, I lived with mom, dad and his brother in a vast, rambling, government supplied residence that went with my dad’s job. The house had covered verandahs all round, expansive rural views and massive front and back yards.

Our backyard was so large that dad’s brother, my uncle, taught me to shoot, using his Browning .22 rifle. We used targets set up against one of our big backyard trees. It was just after the end of WW2 and no one seemed concerned about kids learning to shoot. In the backyard. With real guns.

Even in other peoples backyard. Not any more.

Anyway, to say I was surprised when I first set eyes on our new accommodation when we returned to Sydney would be the understatement of the year.

Three years later, at age twelve I was still uncomfortable there. Dad’s brother had moved somewhere too. I can’t remember where.

The weather board house with a tin roof we lived in was tiny by any standards. It was on a vast corner block and occupied a minute corner of the land it was built on. It had an outside toilet. There was no sewerage connection and the night soil man, the ‘dunny man’, as he was universally know, came at night, once a week. He removed the existing ‘pan’ as it was called and replaced it with a fresh, empty one.

I’ll always remember the smell! It was of fresh hot tar. All the ‘pans’ were hot tar dipped at the depot prior to delivery to ensure hygiene standards were maintained.

The house had a tiny verandah. It faced the main road. I’ll never forget the address, 726 Woodville Road, Villawood. I can use the address freely now. Over 60 years have passed since I lived there, and that address no longer exists. The house is long gone, replaced by factories and warehouses. Any trace of the old house has long vanished, as have my mom and dad.  In different ways of course.

One thing though has remained. The traffic. In the 1950s, Woodville Road was a main two lane thoroughfare connecting the City of Parramatta to it’s southern zones.

In my day, the constant northbound traffic flowed about 6 metres( 20 feet or so) from my bedroom windows. I can still smell the exhaust fumes. No wonder I’m an asthmatic.

The rest of the house was equally dismal. We had a kerosene stove in the kitchen, an ice chest to keep things cool, no hot water unless you lit the chip heater and as for the bathroom. The less said about the galvanised tin bath the better.  Dad had first bath on Saturday morning, mum jumped in next and I came a very very poor last.

Dad did no manual labour, mum stayed home as did the majority of mothers and as for me, I was a perfect little boy, no aroma at all. Not like the two adults with whom I shared the tiny, noisy, draughty, shabbily furnished, cold, miserable place we called ‘the house’, not ‘home’. Mom and dad were both chain smokers, they either rolled their own or smoked untipped Benson and Hedges. Both reeked of tobacco smoke. That didn’t matter because so did every other adult I remember from those days. Everyone smoked, left their cigarette butts all over the place and visitors always left full ashtrays as evidence of their presence.

At that time, WW2 refugees, or ‘reffos’ as they were referred to or, alternatively, ‘Baults’, because they came from areas around the Baltic Sea, were accommodated in a ‘camp’ comprising accommodation in Nissan Huts and it was located not far from our house.

As I said, our house was close to the road. It was also close to a bus stop. So close in fact, that when it rained, the Reffos or Baults took cover on our front verandah to wait for the bus. I’d sometimes wake up in the morning and see strange faces peering at me through the window.

Mom was tolerant and dad was the opposite. When Mom stuck her head out the door and asked them to be quiet and move, sometimes in French, never in German, both of which she spoke fluently,  they generally complied. With dad, his appearance had the opposite effect. He never had to utter a word. His ferocious countenance said it all and using many words in foreign languages our uninvited visitors would retreat to the bus stop.

Once I got used to their presence outside my window, I’d smile and they would smile back. I wasn’t afraid of them, in fact I felt sorry for them. We always moved voluntarily because of dad’s profession. We always had somewhere safe and warm to go to. On the other hand these poor blighters were victims of circumstances over which they had no control.

I hated that house in Villawood. I had no friends my own age living nearby. That probably accounts for the fact that I’m somewhat of a loner. I was allergic to the bark, flowers and the leaves of the tea trees(Leptospermum/Melaleuca) that were prolific in our back paddock.

We had no car and I walked to school, six miles each way as there was no public transport. I hated that school and the kids that went there. Then came high school. A four mile walk to the railway station, a forty five minute trip on the train, then an uphill walk to the high school. I hated that school too.

Yesterday I had a yarn with some local blokes about where they lived when they were twelve. Two of them still lived in the same houses and have been here in town all of their lives. Unlike me, they all had great memories of being 12 and the houses they lived in.

Not like me. I wasn’t happy at 726 Woodville Road, Villawood. When I occasionally have to drive along Woodville Road and have to pass the corner where the house used to be, I breathe a sigh of relief that there is not a vestige of the old house remaining. That’s the one good thing about 726 Woodville Road Villawood.


Today when I posted episode 3 of Serially Lost, I left off one image that train buffs might find interesting. What a boof head. No need for a comment there thanks.

I found one of these blighters hanging from the side wall of one of my front tyres. A flat tyre that is. Almost new when I left home and unrepairable after the visit by ‘spike’.

Without further ado, here is the missing image.

WRITE OK Spikes from the old Ghan_18Apr2015_0003 copy