Apr 7
icon4 Apr 7th, 2008 | icon2 Bric-a-Brac | icon33 Comments »

It appears I am going deaf. This may be owing to the ever increasing mass of hair which completely covers my ears.

Rach now has to lift up my hair before she speaks to me, leading to unkind comparisons between me and a Springer Spaniel:

Rach and I just spent a lovely weekend away in Canberra and the Southern Highlands. Here is a sample of a typical conversation.

Rach: (peering into antique shop window) “It looks a bit op-shoppy”

Me: (confused) “Fishwife?”

Apr 3

Another of my earliest memories is of when I fell in the water. I guess I was about three years old when this happened. Our family had gone to Forster for a holiday and we were staying in our caravan at Forster Caravan Park, as we did most holidays. I don’t think it was summer though, because it was very cold and I was wearing a big, thick jumper that my mum had knitted.

Forster Caravan Park sits right on the river and there is a large man-made lagoon with a boat ramp. Across one end of the lagoon is a wooden walkway, which we always called “the catwalk”. Our caravan was next to the lagoon, and one day my brother Russell took me for a walk along the catwalk. Russell would have been about thirteen years old I guess. Mum would always tell Russell not to let go of my hand.

I can remember walking along the catwalk, holding Russell’s hand. The next thing I am underwater. I remember looking up through the water for a split second, and seeing the sky, and Russell looking down at me. I wasn’t afraid or freaking out, I was just underwater. Then he jumped in and picked me up. The water was only a few feet deep.

Russell carried me, dripping wet in my woolly jumper, up the grass to our caravan. Mum ran outside to see what had happened. This part of the memory is strange though, because I see it from mum’s viewpoint, watching Russell carry me towards her. This image has probably been implanted in my memory because our family talked about this event so many times. All I can clearly recall is sitting on the bottom of the lagoon, looking upwards.

Snubian artillery division takes adventure playground by force, c. 1973

Apr 2

Another afternoon TV show I remember from my younger years is Follyfoot. Actually, I had forgotten the title until I just looked it up. To me it will always be the show with the song about the “lightning tree”. Why is it that often the title music from 1970s TV shows is better – or at least more memorable – than the show itself?

Anyway, Follyfoot Farm is some sort of horse retirement village set in the English countryside. The series chronicles the struggles of the scriptwriter to maintain sexual tension between Dora and Steve for 39 episodes. Check out the opening title sequence (it goes without saying that I had a thing for Dora):

I found a Follyfoot forum but they say it is closed to new members. Snobs!

Shows about horses must’ve been popular in the ’70s, because another one I remember is The Adventures of Black Beauty. I actually recollect very little about the show or its characters – I probably thought it was a bit gay when I was eleven. But once again the music has stuck in my mind all these years. Here is the opening title sequence:

With so many slow-motion shots of Black Beauty thundering along at full gallop, this is basically soft-core porn for horse enthusiasts. And how far does this poor horse have to run? Up and down valleys, through meadows and along streams, it must’ve run clear across Britain. I wouldn’t have been surprised to see the Great Pyramids in the background.

Apr 2

What is it with people and their lawns? Having recently moved to suburbia I am amazed by the amount of time our neighbours spend preening their yards. As a result, our community is plagued by the incessant noise of garden machinery. In our suburb barely an hour of silence is allowed to pass uninterrupted, before someone starts up a whipper-snipper, lawn mower or leaf blower.

These machines are so loud! Some bloke a hundred metres away starts his lawn mower and I know about it. On weekends the racket begins at seven in the morning. Just as we are sitting down to a relaxing Sunday breakfast, there comes the infuriating din of the whipper-snipper down at number 11.

The leaf blower is a symbol for the futility of mankind’s battle with the forces of nature. It moves leaves from here to there. People, more leaves will fall to take their place, don’t you see? And why use such an energy intensive device to move a few tiny leaves? In my day we used a rake! A broomstick with prongs on the end, remember?

I have witnessed people clipping their edges in the pouring rain. I have heard lawn mowers being fired up when it is nearly dark. I have watched while a neighbour spent thirty minutes carefully manicuring a patch of grass smaller than a pool table. I thought about wandering over with a couple of cues and challenging him to a game.

Each week come garbage collection day, green waste bins are lined up along our street like soldiers on parade. They are invariably full to bursting with all manner of shrubbery. Frankly, I am surprised there are any trees left in our suburb given the sheer biomass that is hauled away every week.

We should co-ordinate our yard maintenance schedules. Let’s all do our mowing and leaf blowing at the same time, so that nobody is put out by the horrendous racket. Imagine the noise we could generate! We could get into the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s loudest suburb!

I suggest we push for lawn mowing to be accepted as an Olympic sport. It was in the opening ceremony for the Sydney Games, so why not take it a step further. Gold medals for Australia would be guaranteed!

If we’re going to spend so much time – and generate so much noise – in keeping our yards tidy, then let’s at least use them occasionally. I only ever see our neighbours on their lawns when they are mowing them. After this weekly chore is done they scuttle back inside to have a beer and watch sport. Sport which you may notice is played on a bloody great big lawn!

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