Why I am here

It is a question that gets asked a bit…..why do I live so far from town?

So far from town is about 35 kms and takes me around 20 – 25 minutes…..so I wonder what they say to people who live further than that from town!!!

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My place is in there somewhere….

The silence of the bush is great, which can be broken by the occasional doff doff from the kids across the way or racing up and down the road on their motorbikes.

I love the animals and birds that hang around the garden

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Red necked wallabies love the grass around the house and I think they feel safe

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A variety of honeyeaters hang around from time to time…scarlet honeyeaters are always around somewhere.

The numbers of birds are on the rise and there are the occasional ones who tend to piss me off. At the moment the Australian Ravens have taken to eating the chooks eggs. When the winter cold sarts to bite in the mountains, the Currawongs come down to here and they just hang arpound the chook house eating food out of the hopper. Also the Satin Bower Birds arrive as well but this year, for the first time, they have stayed so a few Bower Birds also hang around the chook yard. I have a new rooster, after a few months without a bloke around to look out for the chooks, so I think he may sort out the Ravens.

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The Ravens just wander about

I guess my biggest challenge is the weeds. Luckily they aren’t too bad to control. Lantana is easy to knock down but it is in many of the gullies and fireweed is along the power line clearings. There is a bit of Parramatta Grass and Cotton weed in patches. I found a small patch of Ballon Vine yesterday and will have to remove that as it is flowering.

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One of my favourite spots. This waterhole has never dried even in the north coast drought of 2000 – 2002

I love living in the bush

Coincidences

I am amazed by things that happen in this world but more so with a couple of my best mates and me – or should that be I?

Many many years ago in a small suburban hospital in Lidcombe, then the western suburbs of Sydney, two babies were born on the same day with mothers in beds side by side, whilst on the far side of the world in England another baby was born.

At the age of four, the two Lidcombe babies started school, one from the south side of the railways tracks, the other from the north side. As there was only one Kindergarten class, both went into that school room with the other thirty or so kids. At the play lunch break, one little boy stood against the wall as he didn’t know any of the other kids at school, when this blonde haired boy said “hey, do you want to play with us?” Among the group of boys was a red-haired boy who later was found to share the same birthday as the shy dark-haired boy.

These two boys, Wayne and I – or should that be me…..shared much of their life….same classes at school right up to when the red-haired boy left high school to get a trade…..both were in the same Boy Scout Troop, occasionally in the same Patrol….went to the same church and church fellowship.

One day, while travelling to an event in Burwood in a red rattler at the age of fifteen, three railway detectives manned the turnstiles, checking tickets. In those days, once over the age of fourteen, in order to travel as a school child you were issued with a school concession card. As we were travelling with a child excursion ticket, the detectives asked to see our concession card as we passed through the thick wooden turnstiles. Some of the group passed through, handing over the torn off half of the cardboard ticket, keeping the other half for the return journey but as I was tall for my age, I was always asked for proof of age.

Well as fate would have it, I left my school concession card at home which caused the finger to beckon my to one side and the other railway detective decided to look at the last few of the gangs….thats gang as in a group of girls and boys who hung out together, not gang as in band of wanton criminals…and as fate would have it, Wayne also didn’t have his concession card…..the only two of the gang (see above)

Once taken to some dingy office in the bowels of Burwood railway station, we were confronted by some fat bloke puffing away on a cigarette, with two of the others standing behind him. We were told of the seriousness of our crime..depriving the State’s coffers of around 20 cents…..thats twenty cents each!!! and how that now we were criminals….sort of changes the whole gang theory now doesn’t it?…..he would have to take down details and enter us in the huge red covered ledger so we would be on record forever as miscreants who had little regard for the NSW Railways Act of 1885 or whatever.

Well the questioning started with the lick of the pencil tip…..”You, lad….name”….then with a look over the top of dark rimmed glasses….”yours”….pointing to Wayne with the pencil, then came the order “address”……Lidcombe from one, Lidcombe from the other…..date of birth…..twentieth July from one twentieth July from the other. A serious look followed and the blokes behind folded their arms. “Fathers names” which were duly given……”Mothers names” Phyllis said one….Phyllis said the other.

Well that’s when the fist slammed the book and accusations of being smart arses emanated from spittle flecked lips while he kicked back the chair and leant forward, red face close and a nicotine coated finger waving hysterically in our faces. It did take a bit of convincing that we were telling the truth….finally we were escorted back to the sunlight where the gang (unchanged from the before mention explanation even though now two of the gang had heinous criminal records) were waiting. The telling of our experience to our mates led to gales of uproarious laughter which no doubt echoed down the dark corridors to the dingy office where no doubt another fag was being lit, waiting for the next load of fare evaders to face the now somewhat miffed detective sat, drumming his fingers on the fat red covered ledger.

Fast forward to the mid 1970’s, when I started work in an office North Sydney where I met this English lad named Michael. Well Michael and I – got it right this time – hit it off and hung out together, shared houses with others, rode motorbikes, were flag marshalls at motorbike races, including Bathurst (tales for later no doubt) hung out with a different gang (see first explanation)…..although no one know of my record he he he……and that first year discovered that we shared the same birthday.

I still have those two as mates and it was last year for the first time that the three of us got together in a pub in St Peters as, when Wayne left school and worked, got engaged and married Sue, we didn’t see each other all that much probably, among other things like single mates tended to upset women leading their bloke astray etc and maybe because I used to go out with Sue before they married.

Coincidences are amazing things aren’t they?

triplets turn 60 Photo courtesy of Marg, Michael’s partner and supportive bestie.

UPDATE: This year we all got together to celebrate our birthdays for the first time. A great weekend with my best mates and friends.

The Start……again

I have started to write and each time I get to a point and find myself wondering if this is what I want to say….I have decided to go back to the start and let others know where I am coming from.

The start is many years ago – yes I was born at a very early age – I am 5 of 5 born to country parents, West Wyalong, Grenfell, Dunedoo, Orange, Tumut………among other places as my maternal grandfather was a Policeman, paternal grandfather was a wheelwright, my father worked for the PMG so they shifted around NSW a bit. I was the only one in the family who was born in the city. The eldest three are much older (Sister’s initials are END) – a prophecy that didn’t happen as 15 or so years later, along came another baby girl. I came along around 2 years later, I expect to keep her company!!

Being the youngest, as my brothers and sisters call me, the spoilt baby, I did get away with lots that no one else did……remember when I was around 16, at the Christmas table I said shit….everyone winced as they expected Dad to give me a whack – you don’t swear in front of Mum!!! It didn’t come so my status in the family went to very spoilt baby. Unfortunately there is only my two sisters and I left now.

I was the first one in the family to escape to the country over 20 years ago. Moving to Jackadgery with a baby girl – everyone said I was mad to do it then as the economy wasn’t the best and a lot of blah blah blah, but it was done and I was gone.

We bought a bush block, not much good for anything but grow the best timber, but we did have three sheep for spinning wool, a goat for milk, dogs and cats, geese, ducks, horses, an occasional poddy calf.

It was into the pioneering spirit…..clear a patch to bung up a shed or two – now there is about 5. Loved the cut the trees and build using poles and timber infill…..a bush mill wasn’t far away, so used to make regular trips to get seconds and off cuts as a well as good stuff for floors, roofs and frames. Had a kero fridge and a 2 burner camp stove until I set up the fuel stove – a Beacon Light – that was in one of the cousins houses in Grenfell and came back to life here….great Anzac biscuits!!

Electricity was a must as the second baby was on the way and life had to get easier as I decided that I had to get a job and being an officeboy before a bushboy, it was into the flouro lights and computer world.

My skills are working with water related work, so after some persistence I was put on full-time to help out with the drought of the early 1990’s but more of work life later. I am still working for the government and have seen a big change in community – the townies and the farmers – attitude to water and its importance in being conserved and shared around between all users including the water dependent ecosystems who need a voice as they can’t speak for themselves….I think I have seen a platypus smile a thanks when I was down at the river taking water samples years ago.

Now I find myself wanting to write and show my photos, inspired by many blogs that I have been reading from all sorts of folk from all persuasions and parts of Australia…….and some from overseas as well…..but it is mainly the farming women’s blogs that I have seen of late that want me to be out here….they also have given me the push to write.

I love photography, writing, music, cooking and enjoy a good laugh and the happiness of others get from some of the stuff I let dribble out of my mouth……so some of those will appear from time to time.

So that’s a bit of the background of this bushboy.

The start has been made and they rest will flow…………………