Much adieu

January 14, 2017 at 9:08 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Poor soundproofing, my nearness to the ward’s security portal  and my lack of headphones give me little option but to overhear all manner of farewells.

Here’s a particularly poignant one – modified to respect the parties, but intact in essence.

‘Goodbye, Darl.’

‘Do you really have to go?’

‘Yes; I’ve been here for ages.’

‘Can’t you stay a bit longer?’

‘I really can’t.’


‘Visiting hours are over, Darl.’

‘But can’t we go back to my room, just for a minute?’

‘No, Darl; we really can’t.’

‘But what about my slippers? Are you sure you brought them?’

‘I did, Darl; they’re in your case.’

‘Should we go back and check? Just to be sure?’

‘No, Darl; I definitely packed them. I know they’re in there.’

‘Are you certain?’

‘Yes, Darl.’

‘Do you really have to go?’

‘Darl; yes. I really do. You … you really have to let me go, Darl.’

‘Do we love each other?’

‘Of course, Darl!’

‘Are you sure?’

‘Yes, Darl; I’m sure. And now I really must go. Goodbye; Darl.’

‘I’ll see you tomorrow, OK?’

‘OK, Darl; goodbye. I love you. I’ll see you tomorrow. OK?’

The man exits and the portal reseals.

The woman remains.

Frozen in silence.

She’s there for so long that I fall asleep before

her footfalls

retrace the



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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