Brown widow

January 20, 2017 at 9:12 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments
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What we do in life …

It is dusk.

I chat on the warm footpath with the widow next door.

She don spik Englis so good.

I no spik Greek at all.

So she’s ahead on points.

We usually get there in the end.

She ask how am I.

I say I’m OK, but dizzy (gestures) from the hospital pills.

She ask why I am in the hospital.

I pause, realising this topic will be even tougher than our council’s three-bin waste cycle.

I point to my head and say it is sick.

I point to the church hall down our street.

I talk about a man who did bad things to me (and lots of other kids) a long time ago.

I glance at her face, to see if my words are small enough.

Unexpectedly, we lock eyes.

Through these wet, brown, Mediterranean portals, I see.

Her grief, her loneliness, her inability to keep up with everything.

And her children’s thirst to flog her home of 40 years.

I wait for her reply.

She nods slowly,


points to a riot of Agapanthus and says,

‘I think this is too much for the bin.

I don kno if the man – he will take.’

For some seconds, I plan an entirely different response.

Then, I assure her all will be well.

And that if the man – he no take,

I will call the council.



He take.

Pic by Roger Culos.

If you found this interesting or entertaining you may like to:

Even a buck or three will keep me in the hunt. With many thanks, Paul.


Bench pressed

October 9, 2016 at 9:31 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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I was very, very, very sad.

I bought some beer and resolved to reflect quietly on life, in a park of my youth, near the home of my family, who are now all dead.

It was twilight.

I approached the park carefully,  so as not to startle anyone else who might be reflecting.

I ended up startling two people.

The first was myself.

I wasn’t alone.

The second person was a young man doing severe-looking, crunch-type sit-ups on the park’s bench.

I immediately apologised, thinking his six-pack was as far from mine as one could possibly get.

The man – way less than half my age – said nothing.

I said, ‘Sorry, Mate; I was here 40 years ago. And I was just … coming back.’

As if that meant anything.

As if it would help.

He continued to say nothing, and gave no indication that my need for the bench transcended his.

I retreated (as is my way) and stumbled into the gloom – apologising all the while.

In the process, I dropped my glasses.

They say you can never go back.

I can tell you it’s true.

Metaphorically and physically.

The only way is


The trick is

to find the right


Further listening:

Pic by unknown but extremely keen to give credit.

If you found this post interesting or useful, you may wish to:

Your smallest kindness will keep me going strong. With many thanks, Paul.

Dead letter

July 3, 2015 at 5:58 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments
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The folk at Births Deaths and Marriages are thoughtful.

When their middle letter hits your box, there’s not much to alarm you – save the unfamiliar address and unusual envelope thickness.

When you open it, you find a second envelope.

It says in big red letters that it contains a death certificate.

And that you might like to have someone with you when you open it.

When you gird yourself to slit this envelope, there’s another gentle touch.

The certificate is folded shut.

And when you unfold that, you see the back page first – which contains only your address and a discreet reference number.

With BD&M having done all they can, the final truth now lies in your hands.

Only you can turn the page.

Dad’s eulogy

May 7, 2015 at 7:09 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 9 Comments
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Thank you all so much for coming.

Fonnie and I are deeply grateful for your kindness and support.

Dad’s life had a pretty rough start.

And a pretty awful final phase.

But, by all accounts, his last moment was one of peace.

I think he’d thank God for that.

In between dad’s beginning and end, he packed a whole lot into life.

And that may be his greatest legacy.

To turn nothing into something.

And to grab life with both hands.

The big parties on King Island.

The endless summers in Doncaster.

The myriad world adventures on land, air and sea.

Friends by the dozen.

Books by the hundred.

Beers by the thousand.

Culture by the tonne.

Wall-to-wall music, singing, laughing, playing and dancing.

What a life!

Australia was kind to dad – as if to make up for the past.

An interesting and meaningful career.

And when that petered out, an early retirement.

With good health, great company and funds to enjoy life on his own terms for decades.

Who could ask for more?

This was no accident.

Mum and dad worked, scrimped, suffered and saved for many lean years.

But it all paid off.

Those of you familiar with my emails will know that dad drove me crazy in the ‘micro’ (day-to-day) stuff.

Thank you for enduring my rants and raves over the last 18 difficult months.

But in the ‘macro’ (meaningful) stuff dad was different.

When the chips were down, he was around.

Dad played Scrabble for keeps.

He gave me books to read that were just beyond my reach.

He rammed a rigorous work ethic into me that serves to this day.

So I’m very grateful.

I hope dad is in heaven, for his sake.

As a child, I thought he was flawless and immortal.

When he went to confession, I asked him why – given he was ‘perfect’.

He replied that he was ‘far from perfect’.

As the years passed, I saw him trying to work on his game.

He taught me critical thinking, and to be objective and scientific about things.

The more I learnt, the more my faith fell apart.

I asked how he, a man of science, could reconcile the gaping chasms of logic our religion contained.

He said that ‘he prayed’.

‘Prayed for what?’ I pursued.

‘I pray, to have the faith, to believe.’

Unlike me, dad kept this up to the end.

So I figure that, if God were listening, he’d have to be impressed.

Impressed by a man who, despite being torn between seen and unseen all his life, kept striving to meet his Maker. Perhaps halfway.

I therefore think (logically) that dad may be eligible for his ‘reward’.

And if you have a religious inclination, you may wish to join my hopes with your prayers.

That dad is finally.



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