Dollies wax

June 26, 2016 at 8:54 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

193709NN DAVY Barbara Playing with dolls

Once upon a


In 1937,

A young teen played with


And none of them were











Footy legend

May 2, 2016 at 7:01 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

That empty feeling.

In 1971, when I was six, my parents went on holiday to Fiji.

Apparently, our church had a network of families that looked after each other’s children (I assume, in time of crisis).

I was thus deposited for two weeks, in a strange house, with a clan I’d never met.

They were nice enough people, but I wasn’t a happy camper.

It was an Australian Rules Football family.

The boys were early teens – a chronic chasm between us.

They were interested in nothing but footy.

My research suggests they went on to do very large things in the code.

The intense irony, however, is that my father despised footy.

Each time a team took the field, he loudly articulated his fervent wish that all players would sustain excruciating injuries and die.

I’d had years of this indoctrination.

Now, on my dad’s whim, I was accompanying future AFL premier players to endless practice sessions on cold, windswept ovals.

As I’d been bookish from the start, this was not a great match.

Each morning, Mrs Footy would impress on me her cure-all: a large mug of boiling water.

Meanwhile, Radio 3XY played Eagle Rock by Daddy Cool over and over – fixing this tale in time.

I was so unhappy, I couldn’t sleep.

I stood in the hall, which featured garish green arboreal wallpaper.

I wept for my absent parents, home, possessions and bed.

After some time, Mrs Footy heard me and rose to see what was wrong.

We were not confidantes.

And my behaviour was as un-footy as one could get.

So despite her efforts, I remained upset in the gloom.

The fortnight dragged. The house, to my best recollection, was book free.

Fourteen hot waters and 56 Eagle Rocks later, my parents collected me.

On arriving home, my mother gave me a Fiji T-shirt and a horse of woven straw.

She also gave me a book.

Even better, it was part of the Enid Blyton series I’d been avidly collecting.

The Folk of the Faraway Tree.

I was stunned. Books were BIG gifts, reserved for very special occasions.

Why then, already in receipt of Pacific largesse, would I also be given a book?

It turned out that my dear mother, foreseeing a poor degree of fit with the host family, had given Mrs Footy not one book, but two – replete with maternal messages of love and support.

These were intended to comfort me at trying times – such as crying at night, among strangers, in a distant, forest-themed scene.

Mrs Footy, in the immense excitement of footy, hot water and Eagle Rock, had forgotten all about these precious (possibly unfamiliar) items until my parents returned.

I got the second book, Adventures of the Wishing-Chair, on my next very special occasion.

(My crisis over, Mum reverted to her customary thrift.)

The Footy family’s name echoes in our media to this day.

And while I’m not completely sure that’s who I stayed with,

the stats back me up.

Brought to you by The Feisty Empire and Imagine Day.

Paper cut

March 26, 2016 at 6:28 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cut to the quick.

In ‘Prep’ (the entry level primary school class before Year 1) we were introduced to scissors.

Safety was everything.

The plastic handles were colourful.

The blades so short and rounded, you couldn’t find (let alone sever) a vein to save your life.

Along with these scissors came craft paper.

You may recall: sheets about 25 cm square. (Ten inches in the old money.)

One side was glossily coloured.

The other, muted and matt.

The object of the game was to cut the sheets with the scissors and do various arty things with the result.

We were four and five.

So it should’ve come as no huge surprise when Linda (not her real name) on encountering scissors for the first time, tried them on her hair.

Her brown locks fell to the floor before Miss Whiting could intervene.

A parental conference followed.

For the rest of the year, Linda was banned from scissors.

She had to tear her way through Prep.

And given things weren’t heavily academic at this stage,

she did a lot of tearing.

As is the way with children, Linda was marked by the pack.

Like the boy who peed his pants, she was damaged goods.

The sad irony is that these days, Linda’s crude, hand-rendered artistic creations would very likely be considered greatly superior to the norm.

And possibly go viral in their infantile genius.

I observed Linda during the ensuing years.

A slight child to begin with, she seemed to shrink ever further into herself.

Today, I daren’t hunt for her on LinkedIn.

Lest she isn’t there.


Brought to you by The Feisty Empire.

Pic by Rain Rabbit.


Spewin’ chips

March 5, 2016 at 12:44 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Sawn and unseen.

I recall the dust man had another role.

A role so awful it may explain why he spent so much time with his incinerator.

Our primary school wasn’t air-conditioned.

And the roof was made of tin.

We had none of today’s namby-pamby, go-home, get-out-of-jail-free temperature thresholds.

We sat and worked and ate and played and laughed and fought in the true-blue, dinky-di Australian heat.

At least, most of us did.

Some of us were of a relatively delicate disposition.

Lily skinned, slender limbed, carrot hued and/or freckle flung.

For these students, summer was a time for spewing.

I don’t know if it was the heat, the lack of glad-wrap on home-made jam sandwiches, or the highly processed tuck-shop fare.

Perhaps a combination of all three.

What I do know is that there was an awful lot of spew about.

The corridor floors were shiny with patina and polish.

When sick hit – often with considerable force – it splattered comprehensively.

Compounding the situation after the fact was the dust man.

His response to spew was to strew it with sawdust.

Appropriate, one might think.

But then,

he left it.

As the hot day wore on, the barf bouquet breached every nook of the school.

And, like so many mouse-trap-taped ping-pong balls, one emetic event could spring kindred reactions from sensitive souls.

By mid-afternoon, the halls could be decked with hazards.

Nor did it end there.

We always yearned to be out of class.

And played ferociously at every chance.

When the bell knelled a return to travail, we lingered as long as we dared, then raced back to class at the last instant.

The sad confluence of this was that one poor, speeding pupil invariably fell foul of dusty chuck.

I can hear it now …

Pounding footsteps down the hall.

The shriek of recognition on turning a blind corner.

The screech of protesting Bata Scouts.

The awkward thump and endless, hideous slither.

The scream of anguish.

The clatter of heels.

The raucous Schadenfreude.

And the wail of the victim who, tarred and feathered, had stinking hot hours to endure.

Why the dust man did it, I’ll never know.

I suppose, these days, we’d call it poor cultural fit.

The chunder down under was always gone by morning.

The scene set for another fool

to fret the stage.

Brought to you by The Feisty Empire.

Pic by Maja Dumat.


Blog at
Entries and comments feeds.