Proverb / Parable.


Proverb : Knots well tied are easiest undone.

Parable : Richard Hocking gingerly poled the punt off the bank of the Murray River  with the butt-end of the oar. The Mid-wife comforted and settled Mrs.Grace Hocking as best as possible in the cramped craft. Considering the advanced state of her labour, this was no easy task for either woman.

Grace groaned with another prolonged contraction.

“There, dear..It’s near now, we’ll soon be over the river and at the hospital”. The mid-wife soothed.

Now, in those days, the government, in its’ kindness, gave a family an endownment of five pounds for every child born. In the years of the great depression, five quid went a long way..with the Hocking family, it went the whole hog!..Fivers wern’t something you came across every day, so it had already been earmarked for some desparately needed items for that family that lived in a wheatbag-tent on the” wrong side of the river”.

Richard Hocking was standing in the punt as he rowed across the river, so he hadn’t noticed the mid-wife subtly cajole his wife into signing a document that granted the said five pounds to her ; the mid-wife, for “services rendered”…never mind that she was already in the pay of the government hospital !  Grace hocking was in no state of mind to contend what she had groggily signed her name to.

The mistake the mid-wife made was to hold the freshly signed document away and up to the sun for the ink to dry and in doing so inadvertantly displayed the treachery to the curious gaze of Richard Hocking, whose face was only inches away from the paper as he rowed the punt across the river.

“Five quid!” He cried as he snatched the paper.

The mid-wife froze with her arm still outstretched, mouth slightly agape and a sharp gasp sprung to her lips.

“Mr. Hocking!..Now give that back this instant. That is a legal document and it is mine!” She demanded.

Richard looked at the document, then at the mid-wife. An angry smile came to his lips.

“Then swim for it!” and he screwed the paper up and flicked it into the river.

“Ahh! You can’t do that!” the midwife cried and with both hands gripping the gunwhale, watched the ball of paper drift away and sink.

“Consider it done!” Richard smiled gleefully.

“Then..then I’ll not attend your wife!”

“Ohhh!..” groaned Gracie.

“Then we’ll stay right here on the river!” shouted Richard as he flung the oars into the punt.

“Ohhhh….” wailed Gracie again..and at this point nature intervened and a baby girl was born in the punt on the middle of the Murray River.

Five quid went a long way in the great depression.



Proverb :    ” Bread and cheese at home is better than roast meat elsewhere”.


Parable. ;    Nicolle detested polenta! So that when he came home from the fields and spotted the polenta on the stove, he started thinking fast.

” I won’t be here for dinner, ” he said as he flung a scarf around his neck ” Giovanni has invited me to his table tonight.” and he rushed out the door before his wife could say anything.


Little did he know that his wife had cooked up enough polenta for all the relatives in the village. all he saw was the little she kept for themselves ! So he rushed over to his son’s house as fast as his little bow-legs could carry him. There, he milled around in front of the fire and chatted small talk while the wife prepared the table.

‘ You’ll stay for dinner, father? she queried “…we’re having polenta.”

He winced at her in horror…”Oh bugger!” he said to himself..then ; “No, no, caro… sister, she has invited me to her table for dinner…speaking of which..I better hurry on..” and he flung his scarf on again and hurried out the door.


‘Hungry, hungry, hungry..” he whispered in time to his quickening steps and his stomach rumbled as he passed through his sister’s front door.


‘Ah…Nicolle! ” she greeted him..” just in time for dinner. Sit down, I’ll get you some polenta!”


” Gesu Christo!” he cried as he flung his hands to the heavens..” doesn’t anybody in this town eat anything but bloody polenta!?” and he stormed out leaving them with open mouths and a slammed door. He came home to his own kitchen with a long face and slumped shoulders. He was beaten and resigned to his fate, polenta it would have to be.


His wife (who knew his dislikes by now) glanced at him out of the corner of her eye and smiled. She reached into the oven and pulled out a covered dish which she placed in front of the dejected man at the table and uncovered a bowl of ravioli and cheese….Nicolle’s face lit up into an ecstatic smile and he sighed very, very deeply. His wife patted him on top of his head…


“Better, you see, to eat at your own table, rather than run around town for scraps from others.”

Nicolle nodded his head gratefully, for his mouth was full of food.



Proverb: It costs a lot of money to die comfortably.


Parable:    Nickolai Petrov was a moderately wealthy man, an old traditionalist in his way, but he was such a skinflint. Many acquaintances used to scold him with the old adage : “You can’t take it with you when you go, Nickolai…”. He hated that expression and would wince whenever he heard it spoken.

He was old now and was dying of cancer. The surgeon told him this at his bedside in the hospital.

Nockolai’s wife sat at his bedside consoling him, holding and stroking his hand. A tear fell from her eye on to the bed cover.

“Ah Nicky…my dear Nicky…what can I do for you?” She sang in sympathy.

Nickolai thought about this for a while…then said

“Trishka, my dear…one thing you can do…”

“Yes, my dearest…just say it.”

“A…a cushion…an embroided, red velvet cushion.. Like that tradition in the old lay my head on when I…pass on…to put in the coffin for me to rest my head on…” He turned his eyes to her.

She wept a little at his request “So like the man” she thought,

“Yes, Yes my sweet…I’d love to.”

And she made him a large, soft velvet cushion, embroided with also a tasseled edging. She brought it to him in the hospital the day he was to be sent home. The doctor had given him a couple of months to live and he spent these finalizing his accounts and business and even arranging the funeral services. He insisted on doing this work himself and said:

“While I have the strength, let me have the dignity.”

And so he died and was buried with the cushion under his head. His wife mourned for weeks in sadness, but, life goes on and the bills keep coming in.

One day she went to the bank to take some money out, – there was none there! – the account had been closed. She went to the building society…that too, closed!…No money? Where had it gone? She asked all the relatives if Nickolai had given them proxy after death to handle the money? No, no one knew…Had he hidden it in the house? She turned it upside down in the search…No…gone… lost! At last she went to the grave of her husband.

“Nickolai, I know you’ve hidden it…but where?” She glared at the tombstone through slit eyes. “You old devil.” She hissed “Where did you hide it?” Then she looked to the photograph of Nickolai Petrov fixed in the left side of the tombstone. He had a certain “Mona-lisa” smile fixed on his face.

“Damn it Nicky, I need…” She stopped short as a niggling nasty realization crept over her mind. She flung her hand-bag to the ground. “You swine!…0h you.. you bastard!…the cushion, the cushion.. you did take it with you after all! You little pig!” She shook her fist at the grave.

It cost Trishka five thousand dollars and a lot of affidavits to exhume the coffin and redeem the money from the cushion. She replaced the cushion under his head when they reburied him. but this time she filled it with rocks!

Accent on Humour.


Recently, I wrote a small cameo piece about a “cross-dresser” and the time and place he “came out” publicly in a small country town. I wrote it as (what I thought) a humorous piece, acting on the logic that where or whenever such an “event” happened, be it in the place chosen, for it’s degree of comfort and camaraderie, or in the main street in full drag , it was bound to be confronting in a pathos – bathos scenario that could occasion a few laughs from the distance of many years hence..I sent it to a younger person employed in an local govt’ artistic / cultural occupation as an adjunct to a conversation we had on certain “local” issues….I was least , mistaken in the perception of what a new generation of readers finds funny. Perhaps, as been suggested, my aged, male, working-class perception of what is or is not funny is now thoroughly dated!…. “…it’s just not funny anymore”…has been at odd times  leveled accusingly at yours truly….I’ve had my own doubts before…It may be time to believe it!


Though, when one analyses the condition that creates a “moment of humour”, so that a laugh involuntarily springs from our lips, it is understood as the sudden “leap” from pathos to bathos and the swiftly altered situation thereof…like the flaying of arms and legs in a sudden “banana-slip” moment…a kind of slapstick suddenness….but something has changed…There appears to now be some hesitancy to guffaw innocently at others foolishness or mishaps…you think about it…how long since you have heard a string of good jokes?…I used to hear many….one “tuned one’s ear” for the grand joke from a good joke teller…..they were considered rare treasures…one “good” joke could make or break a reputation in any front-bar! remember that “Clayton’s…the drink you have when…” advert’ with ..what’s ‘isname..?…oh yeah!..Jack Thompson, THAT was the accepted locale for the dispersion of male humour. I’m sure that other gender has a similar locale!


Now it’s all gone…but people are still laughing…the guffaws are still coming…but what are we now laughing at, if not socially incorrect slapstick?…I think we are more inclined to seek out humour in the more perverted absurdities of the increasingly bizarro-behaviours of people and situations…I think we are finding more laughs in a kind of sado-humour than we did before…..and it is a worrying thing….I’m not saying certain ghastly racist/sexist jokes aren’t deserving of the dustbin of history, but there is a worrying criticism of satire that is very “over the top” censorship…There seems less inclination to humour, and more inclination to litigate such skits as one would find on “The Hampster or “Ripping Yarns” or “Python” etc.


Yet, I have seen rise alongside such cruel treatment that one occasionally views on a channel-surf expedition of “Reality – Tv”, an appreciation of sado-humour, where cruel or victim-selection programs are on top of the ratings! I have watched several so-called “funny home-videos” skits that seem to me to be brutal and dangerous..that one can see such moments have been deliberately staged to get the video on the show…same with those “competitive cooking / singing ” programs etc. There can be no better display of sado-humour than one sees on such channels…yet they are the top-rating programs..What gives!?


One can track the evolution of such sado-humour back to the days of “try-hard” Hollywood “black humour”, where the big studios tried their hand at so-called crime-comedy…I remember the hit movie “Beverly Hills Cop” was the beginning of such a genre…where it was billed as a comedy, yet I counted seven quite brutal killings in the show…( I was a “forced viewer”…been taken to the cinema against my better judgement by acquaintances who “just loved it and you will to!!”)…I hated made me wince..I’m a sensitive bloke.


Indeed, the “humour” of the aged, white, working male may be dated beyond redemption…but the basis for such humour  ie; the “situation comedy” surely will not date…The spectator / viewer, looking on to the unfolding of a unscripted public slapstick moment, whether by accident or by self-deprecation, surely must be allowed a release of laughter at the ironic absurdity of the situation without guilt or remorse, rather than be driven to “approvingly” laugh sneeringly, cruelly, publicly, at the misfortune and hard-luck of others.


Bring back The Hampster crew I say!



Time for a bit of Protest poetry.


The Hill of Content.


There’s rowdy celebration

In the houses of Beaumont.

There’s champagne corks a poppin’

Amid cheery faces of content.

But there’ll be no smiling faces

In the lowland avenues,

Just wasted young people treading

The weary paths to local dole queues.

There’ll be a dozen new dreams fostered

In well appointed offices.

Their well-fare’d suckled children

Safely tucked in colleges.

But there’ll be no dreams for children

Of the outer city sprawl,

Save the dream of permanent income

From the social welfare maw.

And you can’t help having contempt

For those folk on “Content Hill”,

When they ravish “well-stocked tables”

While we swallow the bitter pill.

The Final Fall of Delphi.

“Tell the king…..
The fair wrought hall is fallen,
No more hut, nor prophetic laurel,

Its waters murmur, sigh and sorrow,
The spring of eloquence is quenched….”


Tell the folk :
Delphi ; the house of Apollo is fallen.
The Oracle speaks it’s last,
In stuttering tongue, before dusk,
And cometh now an age of gilded lust.

Tell the people :
The Gods are gone, their whisp’ed scent
From spring and bough wisdom sent
Is barren now….rubble strewn,
Where once was beauty marble hewn.

Tell them all :
The temple walls are forlorn and broken!
The paths of herb and steps awry,
Beast debased, their perfumes descry!
Man’s heart’s desire…now a banker’s token.

Yes!..Go!..tell the Kings of the world:
Of the thousands who have homaged Delphi,
Now..only two of us stand on the Sybilline Rock
….in the pouring rain….
Two stand ; the merchant and the poet..

….but only one of us is crying.


The Conversion of Father Carravalo.

Three Days of Darkness By the Prophets And Our Times

Continuing my Italian Story theme..:

I heard this tale from my sister when I once visited her in Italy back in the seventies. She told me she had not long been in the village when one day whilst sweeping by her back door, an older woman hurried past. My sister said “hello” in politeness, but the lady did not stop, she just quickly said that she was in a hurry to get to her mother’s as she was looking after her children..”I have their clothes” she motioned to a bundle under her arm and on she went. A few moments later an older man came and asked if my sister had seen his wife come past with a bundle of clothes under her arm. My sister related the quick meeting with the lady and told him that she had gone to her mothers’ to pick up the children.

“Ah”..he said sadly, “Her mother has been dead these many years and so have all the children…I will go and find her”….and on he went.

I tell the story of the events as my sister told them to me all those years ago..The priest in the story is, of course, a metaphor.

It went like this:

The Conversion of Father Carravalo.

My name is Pietro Carravalo, of the diocese of San Angelo di Povero. It is the ninth day of February nineteen hundred and fifty one.

Yet ,just three days ago I was known throughout the district as Father Carravalo. I was the parish priest of the aforementioned diocese. Three days ago I was proud to be known as such! Three days, three days I have groveled in this dirty cave out of sight for that period, out of sight for fear of meeting another human whilst I pondered on the sad misfortune of Signora Marzetti.

You notice I use the past tense when referring to my status as parish priest. This is no accident, nor the result of official dismissal from my post. It is self absolution I henceforth rescind that title, as do I likewise any association with the institution known as ” The Church”. I pace the dirt floor of this cave as I reflect on my decision, as I have done so for the last three days! But there is no other way, I cannot in all honesty claim the privilege of spiritual healer or guider or whatever when I no longer have faith in the basic tenets of ” The Church”.

Three days ago Stefania Marzetti lost her last child. He fell down the stairs at his home and broke his neck. It was the fifth child she had lost in three years….I’ll repeat that; five children….all her children…dead within three years! Madonna Mio I tremble to think of it…one after the other ; polio…typhus…scarlet fever….then little Paulo from something as clumsy as a fall..well..she is mad now, I saw it in her eyes before I fled to this refuge, maybe I too am mad! but no! I can talk as such to you because I am sane, shocked but sane. Maybe it was this shock that jolted me out of my fantasy of high priest of absurdity!

Complacent…. self satisfied I was in my privileged position as priest to those simple people. their lives were ordered, quaint, predictable, as were my duties concerning their spiritual guidance. How many years have I poured Latin and lassitude into their souls? Too many to contemplate. How I reveled in my obligations, how I enjoyed those sanctified moments, those pauses of silence when intoning the mass ;  “Nome il Padre e Figlio e Spirito Santo” ahh! flows like a piece of poetry, eh?

Then came the polio How many children did we lose?… How many of those little ones that I myself baptised, did I place in the ground? How many shoulders did I embrace as they heaved and wept, while whispering “couragio, couragio”, into their ears? How much sadness can you record onto a death certificate? How many broken families onto a tombstone?

When Stephania Marzetti lost her first child from the polio, she was not alone. At least a dozen children in the diocese went down with him, so it seemed her suffering was not a lonely vigil. I took her aside after mass one day and helped her light a little candle for the child and to place it at the feet of the Virgin in memorium, then joined her at the altar rail for prayers of help and forgiveness. I did the same for all the distressed parents. Then in that same year came the typhus and she lost the youngest,…a girl. Again, there were others too that lost a loved one, though not all the same families, so that we thought it rather unfortunate Stephania should again be afflicted with such sadness for the second time. Again I consoled her with the blessing of God and a candle at the feet of the blessed virgin. Another name was chiseled onto the tomb! Masses were dedicated to the protection of the innocents and the plea that the typhus would pass without more sadness. Then she lost another child to the disease, the eldest. In the name of God, what more could I say to comfort her? What platitudes this time?

“God is merciful ” ( what mercy?) .

“We will rely upon Him to guide us through this valley of darkness?”

“They have gone to eternal life?” (while she suffers a living death?)

Words, words, diversions from emotions, yet still I found glib passages to placate her despair. Quotations from this or that book in the bible, words of “wisdom” to salve her wounds and all the time feeling like a salesman endorsing his product! : ” Here, take a little of this, it’ll do you wonders!” or ; “Much more than Islam or Buddhism our product is guaranteed to ease the pain in your heart!” Mind you I wasn’t so cynical in my heart, I  wept for Stephania, but all those..those weak sounding platitudes! I mean,… the woman had lost a whole substance of her life and I was trying to fill it back up with Quasi intellectual gobbledygook, such are the incantations of religious doctrine…I no longer am spellbound by it’s “mystery”.

But there came a relief of two years in which she was spared further trauma. Sometimes we look back on such peaceful times wishing we could imprison these moments for eternity in a frame to hang on the wall, and gazing on that tranquility say; ” Ahh! such peace, I remember it well!”

Ah! such a day it was when I was returning from Fragneto. The priest there had fallen ill with a flu so I stood in for him those two weeks. I would shift their Sunday service back a half hour and ours forward the same so as to accommodate both congregations with minimal disruption. It was a clear, cold spring day, early in the season with still quite large patches of snow capping the hill tops. The village was not far away so I walked the distance.

Yes! a clear spring day, the wind crisp and fresh over the thawing earth. My breath frosted in the air as I exhaled and my eyes stung a little as I gazed from the crest of the hill down the crevassed valley to the rising blue hills of Campangolo in the south. I could see for miles and miles! And wasn’t it a lovely sight,….bello!

Just as I reached the high point at the top of the village, the bells of my church started ringing .”Ah! good”,I thought,”Young Tomaso can be relied upon at least”. and I was in very good spirits as I descended the slope to the presbytery. I had not been back but five minutes when Stefania’s husband; Bertolo, rushes in all flustered and dropped his bombshell!

“Oh Padre, you must come quickly, our daughter, Elvira, she is dying with the scarlet fever, you must come quickly”. He stood there like most of these poor peasants, with his floppy cap crushed in his club-like hands.

“But wait there Bertolo, two days ago you said all she had was a cold, a small cough.” I was indeed doubtful.

“Ahh! we thought too padre we thought too! Oh! sacred heart of Jesus! if only that was so but then the vomiting, the fever so we call in the dottore this morning and he confirms it ….Oh blessed saints what wrath have we awoke in our poor family! please padre ,come quickly”.

I don’t think I need go into the details of the child’s death, I..I do not like to dwell on it myself, another round of futile incantations, incense ,holy water and prayers to a deity as distant as Zeus! Oh we laugh at the pagan worshipers of old and their ridiculous offerings to those impotent gods of theirs! we laugh! …but., here in the twentieth century, I have to ask: Are our gods greater? or are we moderns merely slaves to the same illusive desires and frustrations? I, at least, have leaned the answer!

Back then, however, I was still in awe of the “power” of the church. As though the theatre of my “sacred performances” would make all diseases and tragedy vapourise with the swirling incense! I supplicated their tears, but could not stay my own. I rebirthed their belief in the faith, but my own doubts grew! Indeed, Stephanias’ wide eyed helplessness made my speech falter till at the sight of her my set pieces of religious diatribe came jumbled or completely stuck in my throat and I had to go away from her lest I fall completely there and then! You see, though I was seriously beginning to doubt, I still retained the security of those years of indoctrination that bolstered my flagging faith! Her courage stood where mine (in the face of tragic reality) failed.

Still she would come to the church and place a candle at the foot of the Virgin Mother. Still she would ask me for forgiveness from some sin of the past. A sin!…a sin’  my heart wept at her wretched pleas to god for forgiveness from what? for what? How, how, how! I began to realise there was nothing I could say nor do that would have the slightest effect on her or anyone else’s fates in that village still she would come pattering down the aisle of an evening and catch me unawares as I was about my duties and make me jump! Then I would guiltily light a candle for her and bustle about her, helping with a cushion to kneel on, holding her elbow to assist etc. in short just fumbling about when all the while I wished to throw my arms up in surrender to futility.

So it came to be that I could pick her footsteps out subconsciously and not be caught unawares, this way at least I had a moment to prepare myself to face her again. You see now?….She was the nemesis of my faith! Then came the accident with little Paulo. It finished her! it finished me! It has finished two thousand years of demagoguery!

I was standing at the church doors when I heard the news of Paulo’s death. I nearly fainted on the spot! I started trembling all over as if in a fever. I put my hands over my entire face and turned and ran inside the church as a desperate man would to his executioner to throw himself on his knees to beg mercy!  I ran, yes, ran down that isle toward the altar, toward the holy tabernacle and at the altar rail fell to my knees in despair!…

“Dio,.. Dio”..I cried, then a soft whisper; “Dio..”; the only words I could get out.What could I say? What could I ask?….” I’m only a parish priest, I’m only human . I can’t give anymore strength to that woman, I have none to give! Oh god! why oh why, what is the need of such torture?….Madonna,..blessed Madonna Mother of Christ!” I beseeched, yet speechless for more words,..what could I ask ….only a parish priest,..only human!…I wept..I wept…that poor woman,..that poor woman! My head bowed touching the altar rail as I pleaded to….to…to whom?!

Then in the hollow emptyness of the church I became aware of her soft footsteps approaching down the aisle. I knew it was her, I dreaded that sound, so now it magnified in my mind a thousand fold! Echoing about the walls up to the vaulted ceiling. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up so. The footfalls stopped but I could not turn….in horror of the pity I felt, I could not face that woman, that mother, so I just knelt there trembling.

“Father?”… she croaked breathlessly. “A candle for the Madonna,…please ,Father one small candle for my Paulo? a candle Father?” her voice faltering, yet firm.

I turned slowly..holy mother of Christ..holy mother of all children!…have mercy, have pity,..on me as much as her have pity,…what comfort for such a wretched soul could I give?…only a priest only a man..five children mother of Christ five children….! I grasped the altar rail lest I fell and she held out her hand with a few pitiful coppers in it,..appealing;

“A candle Father, I must put a candle at the feet of the blessed virgin for my Paulo”, and she moved mesmerised over to the statue of the Madonna.

I stood speechless. She placed a bundle of rags she was carrying on the floor and took a small candle from the box, this she lit and placed in the rack provided. She then knelt and kissed the feet of the Madonna, genuflected as she rose then turned to go. I picked up the bundle of rags she had left at the feet of the statue and touched her arm gently.

“Signora Marzetti,” I crooned “These are yours”. She turned, looked at the bundle, then gently took it from my arms and once more turned to go.

“Where are you going, Stephania?” I asked gently.

She looked deep into my eyes, yet hers were vague, unseeing, blank!

“I am going to my mother’s.” she softly spoke.

“But…but, Signora,…your mother is dead,…these ten years.” She looked a little fazed, hesitated, then smiled beautifully at me.

“Oh no Father, I am going to my mother’s….She is looking after the children, I will go and bring them home “.. she turned, paused, then stroked the bundle of rags, “I have their clothes “. She spoke softly, I held out my arms to her as if to help….how!…how?…she had lost her mind now.

Her husband, Bertolo, was suddenly there supporting her, with his hands all dirty and hard from the fields and his cap crushed into his top pocket his craggy cheeks furrowed with tears..

“It’s alright Father,….I’ll take her home, it’s alright.” and he half bowed half nodded as he steered her down the aisle to the group of friends clustered at the nave door. They parted as he approached then swallowed them into their midst. I was left alone in the church still with arms outstretched, gaping in mute despair, the echo of the closing door boomed drum like in accompaniment to my heart. I came around and turned to the statue of the Madonna, the one little candle burning at her feet. I felt hopeless, useless!

I giggled,”A candle Madonna, ” I smiled weakly, “A candle for a child, a trade off from a poor mother to the mother of a poorer Christ  but, there were five children, my Lady,, take five candles!….forgive us humans our feeble gestures of worship…” I laughed at the silliness..” No!..wait here take a dozen more, a dozen candles for a dozen children….ha!…wait a minute, why skimp,.. take a hundred,…all our life blood for you ; Mother of Christ a sacrifice to God from us pitiful people!….a hundred children,..a hundred candles!” and as I tippled the candles over the sand tray,I laughed at the absurdity of it all. Then I grew angry, I looked down at my garments, the surplice with that smell of incense permeated through it, once so comforting to me with its spice-like aroma, I now found disgusting, so I flung it off to the floor, likewise my cassock, then darting to the presbytery, I changed into street clothes and ran desperately away, away from the hopeless shame, the tawdry sham of my life I ran, I ran, I ran…

Till here I am in this cave, and now all the hate and disgust has abated, I shall abandon all the pretexts of my holy office and accept my place as a man amongst my people….

Listen!..The bells of San Georgio ringing out across the valley, crisp and clear in the rising air. I wish for a modicum of their confidence. Indeed their peals shout of glory, of happiness in the new day! Just as a bird sings after the storm ,even from the remnants of it’s destroyed nest.. I have little of such religious feelings left, I was a hypocrite, a liar to have ever stood before my people and purported to “guide” them….Yet!…though I would disown my religion, I would never abandon my humanity,…on the contrary, I embrace it!…Ah! and it is as such that I will serve , No more casting out demons and other hocus pocus, I will redress my wrongs before my fellow men, I will go back now, I will go home.

To the Beat of the Drum.


Sooner or later this year, we are going to have an election. This election outcome is very important for social, environmental, economic and infrastructure well-being for a majority of the nation. It can be accepted as gospel that a re-elected LNP. would spell disaster for most of the above categories as far as the everyday citizen is concerned..and one can be assured that a returned LNP. would soon unleash a social purge upon it’s more vulnerable or radical citizens.

This blog, along with others in the news delivery game on social media and a large Twitter following are all urging the ALP. toward a victory next election. And while we , on the periphery of political discourse can shout outrage and reveal what LNP. corruption that the MSM. is too “yellow-backed” to expose, I believe we need to show those political leaders that represent us , whether they be mainstream parties or independents, that we “have their backs”. No one person can take on the juggernaught of vested interests in the MSM. , the now corrupted ABC. and big-business media spending for the LNP. without knowing that they have the support of those they wish to represent.

It is getting near to the date for the election to be called and I believe we on the left-wing social media need to coalesce toward one track, one intent, one heartbeat.. A joining of separate blogs, perhaps, to coordinate articles that have a “continuity of subject” , a “continuity of exposure” of LNP. corruption..a continuity of message of encouragement and step.. The entire left-wing social media cooperative could do worse than to coalesce toward the beat of the one drum.

“In many cultures, Native Americans, Zulus and so on, drums were beaten before a battle to work the warriors into a frenzy and to un-nerve the enemy. Even British soldiers two hundred years ago marched into battle to the sound of drums.” (random comment on a random blog)

At the moment there are any number of links to and from items of outrage about this or that LNP. member or supporter or policy…these links, like a shooting star; flare up, extract a moments oh’s and ah’s! and then fade away…perhaps we could donate a day or two on all the major blog-sites to the one or two most outrageous acts of bastardry by the LNP. and hammer it home , from post to post, link to link…blog-site to blog-site extrapolate the issue until it saturates twitter and hopefully overwhelms any MSM. dumbing down or obfuscating of the issue.

For instance…today’s information on the submarine contract..or lack there of..This is one of the most important policies for Sth Aust’ LNP. election strategy…yet there is not much MSM. info on the French side of the deal…Then there is the PNG. Manus Is’ debarcle..this is a major corruption scandal in the making as the LNP. tries to bribe certain parties to do their bidding…as sure as eggs!

This election has all the hallmarks of a turning point for the nation. Lobby groups like the IPA. and Big-Banking etc. stand poised to overwhelm the egg-shell casing of Turnbull’s LNP. if he gets re-elected. The nation that we used to know will be sunk beneath the waves…you know it , I know it, a huge section of social media knows it. We need to coalesce behind our selected members and step in unison and shout in enthusiasm to that beat of OUR drum.




A Revolution Against the Middle Classes !

A  Call to Revolution!

Ma’ frens’, we need a revolution!..not to overthrow the state, but to replace the political, administrative and social control from a subservient middle-class with a more homogeneous mix of  blue-collar, blue-collar and more blue-collar people…But I am not talking the stupid blue collar..; the bogan idiocy, nor the racist, bigoted goons who wrap themselves in a jingoistic flag and usurp the name of “The People”, such trash will always be trash and more than likely aspirants for a middle-class lifestyle.; “I want to be effluent, mum, effluent!”

Now is the time for those of the producing classes, the “hands-on” skilled classes to take control of governance , training and administration of our nation. Such responsibility can no longer be chanced in the hands of those more willing to serve mammon and the vested interests than the interests of a nation and its peoples. For every time one attends a community forum or council meeting , it seems one is met with obfuscation, legalistic blockage and administrative hurdles, not necessarily for the benefit of good governance, but more than not for the benefit of this or that group of speculators or old family interests. We need “good governance”, not a reward system for mates!

After all, it has always been the diligence and ingenuity of the producing classes who have advanced humanity through new discoveries or technology…never the financiers nor the indolent managers…BUT…they have always claimed reward and kudos for it!

From Victor Hugo ; Essays on Humanity.

“…The cleverness of the governing and the apathy of the governed have arranged and mixed things in such a manner that all those forms of princely nothingness have their place in human destiny; peace and war, the movement of armies and fleets, the recoil of the progress of civilization, depend on the cup of tea of Queen Anne or the fly-flap of the Bey of Algiers.

History walks behind these fooleries, registering them. Knowing so many things, it is quite natural it should be ignorant of others.

If you are curious to ask the name of the English merchant who in 1612 first entered China by the north, of the worker in glass who in 1663 first established in France a manufactory of crystal, of the (shipping) pilot who in 1405 discovered the Canary Islands, of the Byzantine lute-maker who in the eighth century invented the organ and gave to music it’s grandest voice, of the Campanian  mason who invented the clock by establishing at Rome on the temple of Quirinus the first sundial, of the Roman lighterman who invented the paving of towns by the construction of the Appian way in the year of 312 BC.: of the Egyptian carpenter who devised the dovetail, one of the keys of architecture…of the Chaldean keeper of flocks who founded astronomy by his observations of the signs of the zodiac… “..

And on it goes, the distortion of history to serve the interest of the “managers of education”…sure, education must be managed, but in the interests of the whole of society, not just directed into cul-de-sacs suitable to the financial gain of this or that section of society.

But why are you learning this from me ; a mere carpenter, a nobody, a minute cog in the juggernaut wheel of society?…because, my fellow’re NEVER going to hear it from those who know better than to have you know too much!..”A little knowledge is dangerous” they warn…but we can now see that “ A whole lot of  knowledge is deadly!!” So leave us with our collective knowledge, after all it is not intellectual copyrighted…

To Quote Thorsten Veblen..:

“The institution of a leisure class has an effect not only upon social structure but also upon the individual character of the members of society. So soon as a given proclivity or a given point of view has won acceptance as an authoritative standard or norm of life it will react upon the character of the members of the society which has accepted it as a norm. It will to some extent shape their habits of thought and will exercise a selective surveillance over the development of men’s aptitudes and inclinations. This effect is wrought partly by a coercive, educational adaptation of the habits of all individuals, partly by a selective elimination of the unfit individuals and lines of descent. Such human material as does not lend itself to the methods of life imposed by the accepted scheme suffers more or less elimination as well as repression. The principles of pecuniary emulation and of industrial exemption have in this way been erected into canons of life, and have become coercive factors of some importance in the situation to which men have to adapt themselves.

These two broad principles of conspicuous waste and industrial exemption affect the cultural development both by guiding men’s habits of thought, and so controlling the growth of institutions, and by selectively conserving certain traits of human nature that conduce to facility of life under the leisure-class scheme, and so controlling the effective temper of the community. “ (“Theory of the Leisure Class”)

No longer can we serve under that sickly-sweet fondant of middle-class tackiness that has more an ear to the stock-market than to the street, that is more attuned to serving a insincere “Old School Tie” motto of ;” Tempus celerius radio fugit”, or ;” And Gladly Teche”, or; “Postera Crescam Laude”…but enough!…let us instead reflect upon that old alma mater motto of everyone..: “ Non illigitimus carborundum!”, or it’s primary institution..; “ Non credus taurus excretum!”….

But seriously..

If ever there was a signal of the decline and eventual destruction of a society, a culture and perhaps of a civilization itself, it is the rise in influence, financial control and political power of the ‘middle class’. From ancient Greece and it’s Oligarchs and Rome’s Equestrian Order, to the height of the British Empire and it’s Captains of will destroy the USA. too with their “Masters of the Universe” Wall Street bankers . I will confidently state that the decline and fall of every society which has reached it’s pinnacle of  social, financial and civil administration skills, can be sheeted straight home to the rise in control and management of governance by the upper-middle-classes. It is both the zenith and nadir of a people’s achievement. Let us not be mistaken nor tricked..; an “old school tie” reputation means more to these hustlers than loyalty to the nation it is sworn to serve.

But it won’t end there, with their incessant analysis into every corner and worry of our lives, it won’t be long before those bourgeois economic hypochondriacs have us in therapy or on a metaphorical  echinichia oil for everything from fear of stock-market collapse to shopping malls emptying! Directing, as usual, all their monetary attention to what is most important in THEIR lives…; THEIR bank balance. For with THEIR media dominance, THEIR design of  indoctrination has led the most easily influenced into a trap of ; high credit, high consumption …and low taste in entertainment for those masses.

The insincere concern for the most vulnerable in society, through faux Christian charity programs can be evenly matched by the vicious snatching away of real, State financed programs for the long term…seeing many of the vulnerable, ill, homeless and most in need as ; “leaners” and in such a situation through a perceived fault or choosing of their own…the perception amongst the more wealthy of the middle-class being that they achieved their level of status through their own hard work and ingenuity…yet you look at them..; slovenly or loathsome..opportunist or plain criminal..liars or cheats, and you are certain that never in a lifetime of Sundays could they have obtained ANY position save crawling on their knees without a network of like-minded and like-supportative bastards!

The middle-class has corrupted nearly every corner of our lives…from simple, wholesome food to simple hard-won finances..they have corrupted our language through pedantic manipulation and twisting of the vernacular and idiosyncrasies of the mother tongue into a perverted blancmange of tedious and boring grammatically correct doggerel.

Our songs have been debased from a voice in the street to a fully orchestrated 32 channel syrup of “pop queens” and “boy bands” to faux radicals , pumping out mass-produced crap that one can neither tap one’s foot to nor shake one’s fist with…the whole “of the people” structure has been bleached into a white-noise of acceptable, non-aggressive political theatre, our ambitions are being “managed”, as is our language, our finances and our cultural heritage…but then we have to at the same time thank Christ for their destruction of the environment, culture, social structures and all we hold dear..for now they, in their overconfidence and cocky indifference, have shown us the face of our enemy…

On the issue a declining middle class..I have no sympathy…To me it is personal. I can recall the times when both the front-bar and the smoko room was the fermenting places for the last vestiges of oral story telling for the working class. The greedy aspirations and economic rationalism of the middle class has destroyed them both..

The Front bar was the place to see and hear the liars and spielers, the pompous bastards and the braggadocio…and their stories reflected that could write of them freely…the smoko spot, be it in factory or in-situ on a building site was where one heard the deeper tales..the personal trysts of the tradies and their families…I have written many of them up.

Smoko, when I was a tradie, was around 10 o’clock, there would be a general “down tools” and all would gather in one room or another and the camaraderie of the collective would gel…if anyone kept working on, there would be a general : “Hey!..cut it out…smoko!” and that was the rule.

With the rise of the aspirant tradie, no more than a cheapo reflection of the bastard middle class establishment, there was lost that “gathering”…With the snazzying up of the hotel front bars, until they almost cease to exist in the old format, there was a change of clientele to the “beige beautiful people”…all has been destroyed for the likes of our slimy prick PM. who shovels his dosh overseas to a tax haven like so many of his ilk.

Many of you may notice that the tales I write are of a certain age group…that is because it is at that age group that the stories have stopped in my mind…oh sure, there are still stories both joyful and sad…but there is something so, so horribly banal and suburban about them now…there lacks the “heroic” ..and the creeping bogan aspiration has “dirtied” the noble and honest and reduced the working class from a proud, qualified expertise to a just-in-time , “multi skilled”, casually employed workforce, more desperate for money and more in need of camaraderie than ever before.

It is a sad state of affairs and I lay the blame to a greedy, manipulative middle class, too insecure in their own minds to just let the affairs of humanity have a bit of a breather to tell their tale, and if I can be a tad poetic..: sing their song!

I believe it is time to write a new “Manifesto” for society.

The opportunist middle-class…time to rid ourselves of this pestilence!

Time for a social revolution!



The LNP. and a Habit of Treason.

I want to run through a bit of a time-line on the many ways the LNP. or what was once the Liberals, have sold the country down the gurgler to either vested money interests or foreign national govt’ interests..from Menzies to Abbott/Turnbull.

I am not going to try to do an incisive analysis, I don’t have the resources nor the middle-class anal-retentive personality to do such a thing. I am going to run through my own memory as a citizen who lived through the times and LNP. govt’s that gave away so much of our national character, decency and independence to anybody who gave them a buck or a boost !

What is it in the Liberal DNA. That makes them such suckers (in every sense of the word!) for every crack-brained entrepreneur and opportunist that washes up on the LNP. porch, that they will pour money, people, jobs, army, navy, air-force into the most shit-for-brains schemes that can ever be conceived by a mad-man or a fool?

“Pig-iron Bob” Menzies thought it a good idea to sell scrap-iron to a militarizing Japan that turned it into weapons and shot back at us to great travail…and then he came up with the brilliant defensive plan of a “Brisbane Line” that would have abandoned much of Aust’ to the enemy!..What the hell was that!?..and when the warfies union tried to restrain his treason, THEY get slammed and Menzies wants to ban them along with their so-called / accused communist party affiliations…as if democracy was the crime!..Treason!…But then Menzies goes off the rails to kiss Monarchist arse of another country.

Of course, when Menzies retired to his “beloved homeland” to admire that; “which butt  did pass him by”, leaving us with the foundation laid for the Vietnam War debacle, we got his hand-me-down ; Holt!

Now there was a specimen!..about the only thing you can say in HIS favour was that he did a good job dodging out on his swimming lessons!…Well I remember that “All the way with LBJ.” Sing-along that shafted us well and good right up the arse of the Vietnam War!…and can’t forget Premier Aitken wildly calling for the LBJ. car driver to “run over the bastards!” protesting in front of him…Three jeers for Harold!…another bit of treason!

The next collection of clowns , fools, jerks and stooges that took the oath of high office in the LNP. I will pass over, sufficient to say they were nondescript night-watchmen , keeping the crease warm for the most filthy betrayal in the nation’s history, which only recent discoveries have shown what we all knew to be the case for a long, long time. The absolute bastardry of the Liberal Party could not reach any lower into the cess-pit of their own souls to come up with the Whitlam govt’ dismissal…the intrigue between the GG. , the high judiciary and  low politics has it’s equivalent in the depraved Nero plotting and eventually succeeding in killing his own mother….

There is no equal in the annals of contemporary history of any 1st world democratic nation of the devious scheming of the Liberal players in this sordid episode that has branded the LNP. indelibly with both the heat and the charred stain of infamy of the dirtiest kind!…Fraser, Howard, Lynch, Withers and the others..may their souls be dammed to the lowest pool of effluvious filth of the night-soil bucket! …Traitors , one and all!

And this brings us to the Howard years…where the treason reached new scope..the betrayal of our national decency and pride. Howard took the nation’s reputation of a tolerant multi-cultural country to a divided racist, bigoted bunch of god-awful bogans and bastards!…His tiny fist-waving petulance against desperate refugees like a demented gnome wishing havoc upon the earth..and he got it!…His betrayal of the many agreements we held in trust with the United Nations and many nations were thrown aside to placate an electorate carping and complaining against a manufactured emergency that didn’t even exist!…He took us into a wrong war without evidence or corrupted evidence..He squandered a once in a nation’s lifetime commodities gratuity  to pork barrel his constituents and accomplices..The betrayal of the AWB bribe to the very enemy our soldiers were fighting..The betrayal of the workforce and their wages ..the warfies fiasco with the mercenaries and dogs..The ultimate betrayal of our inner sanctum of security by playing one section of society against another..a most cruel betrayal, a dirty little rodent.

And then to this lot..; The Abbott / Turnbull potpourri..Where not only did the EX leader of the LNP. lie and deceive and cheat his way into office, he betrayed his own members to get there..I have no doubt his own side of politics was behind the Godwin Gretch affair that removed the then opp’n a betrayal of the leadership..then a betrayal of the speaker…after acting as best man at the speaker’s  wedding..then a betrayal of parliament protocols, of parliament decency and respect..till finally the betrayal of electoral honesty..a simple thing after all the others…and now we have..or rather DO NOT HAVE an NBN. ..of all the betrayals to a nations infrastructure future, this has to be one of the biggest!..With this treason against our nation’s economic and even physical well-being purely to placate a foreign national media mogul who helped them lie their way into office!

Which brings us to the greatest betrayal of all…: His own God. His own doctrine of belief…Just recently he spoke of a need to put aside the most sacred teachings of his own God..: “To love and do unto others as you would have done to yourself”…He dismissed this universal truth of his own God to further his own doctrine of hate and opportunity…Can a man sink lower in human depravity?..There are fundamentalists in every religion who would drive such a one to oblivion…But the LNP. praises him..embraces him as one of their most endearing bretheren..This is where they have come to..

From Menzies infamous “Brisbane Line”..: a betrayal of  Holt’s ; “All the way with LBJ” ..and the betrayal of the Vietnam War which was a betrayal of the people…To Fraser’s dastardly political betrayal with the conspiracy to a coup against a democratically elected government.. To Howard’s ..denial  of human rights and betrayal of United Nations agreements and the war with Iraq…to Abbott’s ultimate betrayal against even his own God!…And now all we are left with is that Banker’s lick-spittle ; Turnbull!

There is no lower level than this…the “habit of treason” has led the LNP. , like the most gutter wretched junkie, to this, the nadir of their political existence..I suppose it had to be, after all, it has been one long pursuit of that most corrupting influence of greed.  Why is it that they are so willing to sell out to anyone with a wad of can be old money like the Banks , and there they are, up the arse to their tonsils..New money like Twiggy or Gina, the same ; like a stick of Flake in the centre of a chocolate donut, their hungry tongues a wriggling and a waggling..can’t get enough…would choke on it if they could..the LNP. ideal death..: Sphintus Gluttonus Chockus…and when it comes to royalty, it’s glued to the monarchial teat like a suction-cup to a buttock!

This is the party that claims a “right to rule”, when really it is little more than a beggar’s banquet of  blackguards and buffoons…keeping company with the lowest scum of humanity..There could be a lower level in Dante’s Inferno for them, but it would not be long, I very much doubt before they would disgrace even THAT base!

Saying Goodbye to Ferruchio.

Image result for olden days Dolomites houses, pics.

You may have read my bits about “Ron the brickie”..He was sponsored to Australia as a young lad a few years after the 2ndWW. He left behind his mother and siblings when he came to Australia…a difficult situation not of his making. He went to school for a couple of years here, then worked for his uncle in the building trade. Like any number of refugees from war-torn countries, he came with a mix of memories both fair and foul..He is old now and not in good health, although he has worked right up till just the last few years in the building trade as a brickie / builder.

Of course, I have taken the usual liberties with the construction, names and continuity of the storyline. But I have to mark the seemingly one constant in these desperate migration situations…it is that perhaps the greatest loss and sorrow is carried by the women and children left behind.

It went like this:

Saying Goodbye to Ferrucchio.

Carmina Serafina stood stolidly in the opening of the front door of her house, She filled the opening all ways, that is, width as well as height! She was not a handsome woman, she was splay-footed and big-boned. As a young woman, the other youngsters in the district used to call her “Carmina di cavalla”. (Carmina the horse!). She stood there smiling at her visitors that were just alighting from the village “taxi” that brought them from the railway station of the provincial city of that region. Behind Carmina stood the flat impassive facade of the stone house that had been built around the turn of the century, and behind the house stood the massive, solid earth that is the Dolomites of Northern Italy.

Carmina smiled. She was working a tea-towel around and around in her hands.

“And what brings such riff-raff to the door of an honest woman?” She cried in mock admonishment. The aged, balding male of the couple of visitors pulled up as if in shock, one hand stalling his wife in her steps and with a surprised look on his face exclaimed:

“Did she say honest woman!?…Santa Cielo! my dear…, we must have the wrong address!” and he turned bent-backed as though to sneak away.

“Come on with you Pietro, you and your foolishness” chided his wife then as she was slower on the up-take; “Anyway, she is half way right “. and she strode on arms out-stretched to embrace the woman in the doorway. The man called Pietro stayed on the spot, his arms akimbo toward the women embracing, his lips frozen in a silent “o” just waiting for the pause to expostulate mockingly his innocence. He didn’t get the chance as the women didn’t let off with the embracing so he dropped his arms to his side, sighed and came forward carrying their suitcases.

“The willing horse gets the heaviest load” he said as he plonked the cases on the doorstep.

“Brother, welcome, welcome,” Carmina hugged him, they kissed and then held each other at arms length and as if on signal hugged again..

“Good to see you caro sorella, good to see you again”, Pietro murmured softly, all had the wetness of tears in their eyes.

“Ah, but it’s a sadness that Giorgio and Biaccio are not with us now.” wept Carmina .

“That bloody war.” She said bitterly. Pietro just pat his hand several times on her shoulder as Carmina turned and led them into the interior of the house.

She sat them at the kitchen table whilst she prepared the coffee percolator. They exchanged news of each others family and events as they climbed out of the pit that the mention of Carmina’s deceased husband and eldest child had drawn them.

Pietro was a builder and had travelled with his wife to Australia before the war and had done reasonably well over there through their hard work and diligence. They had two children there. The children did not accompany them on this trip back to the “old country” as they were here on “business”.

“So tell me Carmina, how have things been here since the war?”  Pietro asked his sister.

Carmina pinched her thumb and index finger together in that peculiar Italian way and shook her hand meaningfully. She then carelessly tossed the tea-towel over the left shoulder.

“That God is my witness…brutto!…cativo!…I tell you brother, that last year when their army retreated through here…they stripped the countryside of food…every morsel…and they shot those they found hiding anything away…” Pietro’s mouth again formed an “o” and he too shook his hand in a gesture as he turned to look at his wife”…just so” Carmina continued “against the wall..boom! I tell you…after we had to dig the potatoes that were overlooked out of the frozen earth…everything gone…Guiseppina, she lost two children, the old people died…I think they let themselves go for the sake of the young ones. Then we had to boil the grass and drink the liquid…like cows…the grass even…but then, here we are (a sigh), things are slowly getting better, but the country is ruined, ruined…always trouble, always corruption…that is why I sent you the letter, I pray God you thought the proposition over. I’ve lost two of my men, I don’t want to lose Ferrucchio.”

She turned and leant with both hands on the kitchen table in front of her brother then she stood up, automatically plucked the tea-towel off her shoulder and rolled it over her hands again as if it was a nervous habit, for she always seemed to have that tea-towel handy.

Pietro sat with his hands clasped together on the table, his lips pursed and a soft whistle escaped from them at the telling of his sister’s story. He sat back then with one hand resting on his knee and the other flat on the kitchen table. He was thinking careful.

“Yes, I have thought it over caro, I have” he spoke quietly ” and I will take the boy back with me to Australia…but you Carmina, have you considered the consequences?”

“I, Pietro? Why, yes, yes otherwise why would I write you the letter”

“But caro sorella, do you realize how far it is to that country? It isn’t just the other side of Rome you know…you may never see Ferruchio again,” he rapped his hand on the kitchen table in emphasis.

Carmina turned from their eyes, her eyes closed and she held back the thought while she prepared the coffee.

“I know, maybe, but…something must be done for the child…I have Enrico who is now engaged to be married next summer and then there is the three young children I have to care for and I see no future here for Ferrucchio if he stays…yes…I have thought of it often and I still say…take him.”

The last two words she spoke in a whisper so that Pietro and his wife exchanged doubtful glances.

“Well,” the wife spoke up “we will be here for a month and you will still have that time to become certain Carmina.” and the talk drifted onto other subjects.

The month passed quickly for Carmina, she thought over her proposition to Pietro again and again. Sometimes she was certain of the good of it, sometimes, as a mother she rejected the idea, she feigned to lose her favourite child to a distant land. “But one day soon he will no longer be a child,” she thought out loud, “and then what?” It was this conclusion that decided her in favour of his going.

One afternoon before the sun had slipped away completely over the mountains and the snow-capped ridges softened to a gentle hue of rose, she stood outside the front door and called for Ferrucchio to come home. She had a unique way of calling for him that differed from the other calls to her children and although Carmina, with her peasant-like sturdiness appeared clumsy, she had the voice of an angel.

She remembered with a sudden sadness how many years before, when Giorgio was courting her, they used to “sing” to each other across the valley in the sweet spring air..Carmina was working the fields on one side and Giorgio was in the olive orchard on the other and they would tease each other with parts of Neapolitian arias and folk songs..Giorgio’s deep manly voice swirling underneath Carmina’s higher thrills..and they would always end laughing at each other for the sheer joy of it all..

She started her call from a low note and built up the sound toward the rolling trill of the middle part of Ferrucchio’s name and drew out the tail end with a flowing of mellow but strong continuous tone… she would do this over and over again till this strange cry become, with the intercepting waves of rebounding echos, almost like one continuous song that trilled amongst the nearby peaks and washed through the trees on the banks of the little streams tumbling down from the snows. She would keep calling till the answering song from Ferrucchio blended into hers and she would smile at its cognizance and, taking the tea-towel off her shoulder, wipe it over her hands in contentment.

Ferrucchio had returned.

It was late afternoon, the younger children were out at play, Enrico, now the eldest, was still at work in the fields. Carmina had called Ferrucchio in to have a talk with him alone.

“Ferrucchio…you’re twelve years now…nearly thirteen.”

“Yes,” said the boy, perplexed, and a bit cautious at the seriousness: of his mother’s features.

“Ferrucchio…you will be going away soon with your Uncle and Aunt. you will be going to live in Australia with them.”

“Yes, I know, we talked of it before.” He replied wearily.

“But listen Ferrucchio,…you will be going a long way away and I.. I may not see you for a long, long time…I just want to sit with you a moment…and talk with you of somethings.”

“About Papa?” Ferrucchio raised his eyebrows.

“What about your father?”

“How did he die?”

Carmina looked into her sons’ eyes and turned away, for of all her children he resembled his father the most.

“He…he died quite swiftly.” she parried.

“How?” Ferrucchio persisted.

Carmina took a deep breath.

“Georgio was taken hostage by the soldiers…he and ninety nine other men…and…then…they shot them all.” She bit her lower lip to stop trembling.

“Like Angelos’ father?” Ferrucchio asked softly.

“Like Angelos’ father,” Carmina nodded.

“And Amelias’?”

“Si, yes, Amelias.”

“And Francescos’ father?” he continued.

“Yes, yes!” she answered curtly.


“Yes, the lot! they shot the bloody lot of them.” Carmina cried and then stood up angrily and snatching the tea-towel off her shoulder, rolled it around her hands, then placed it gently to her mouth while the memory faded.

“I’m sorry Ferrucchio…the memory…” She sat down again.

“I understand mama,” Ferrucchio spoke quietly. Carmina looked up at his eyes, so young, so clear

“Yes” she thought “maybe he does understand.”

“So I will go with Uncle and Auntie and he will teach me to be a stone mason in Australia.” Ferrucchio parrotted out the plan he had been told of weeks before. He had no objections, he was always hungry here, a lot of his friends had gone away, some had died, it would be an adventure for him.

“Yes Ferrucchio…but I don’t want you to think I just sent you away. I am doing this for your future. There is so little here for a man to do…But you must write to me often, you must keep in touch, for I don’t know when I will see you again…” she stopped and put the towel to her face again. Ferrucchio leant forward and embraced his mother around her shoulders and kissed the top of her head.

“I will, I will Mama…I promise.” he cooed. Carmina wiped away the tears and stood up.

“Well then…I must pack your things, for it’s only a couple of days left,” and she turned to go to her bedroom.

Ferrucchio sat alone in the kitchen for a moment and the evening glow from the valley window lit up the side of his face so it glowed golden. Carmina turned at her bedroom door and gently gasped at her child’s beauty.

“Ferrucchio” she spoke “you be a good man…” and she turned away.

The early morning of departure was cold and the hills hung heavy with low cloud. It had started to snow for the first time for the season and the falling flakes muffled their voices and huddled the company with its’ pale embrace.

“I have the documents” Pietro patted his coat pocket.

“I have packed an extra coat.” said Carmina.

“Ho! he won’t need it out there,” laughed Pietro “he’ll be getting around in his singlet!”

“Just the same,” Carmina remarked with certainty. “And you Ferrucchio”, she chided “You won’t forget to write…you make sure he writes Pietro she frowned as she tugged and buttoned the collar of the boy’s coat.

“Mama!” Ferrucchio whined.

“Don’t you ‘Mama’ me, I birthed you and raised you so now I won’t see you freeze to death…and you look after yourself too now that I won’t be around.”

“Mama!” Ferrucchio whined again.

“Carmina, caro,” Pietro laughed “he’s nearly a man now, let him dress himself!”

“And you brother, you make sure he becomes a good tradesman.” She chided.

“Ah si, si” Pietro nodded on and on.

“Well then,” Carmina stood back and snatched the towel off her shoulder and rubbed it over her hands.

“So,” spoke Pietro “Time to depart” and they all stood silently… then as to break the solemness of the moment, Pietros’ wife stepped forward and embraced Carmina.

“Don’t worry Carmina caro…he’ll be fine, you’ll see, we’ll feed him up to a grand man,” and she smiled comfortingly at Carmina.

Carmina lowered her head and nodded as she tossed the towel over her shoulder again. Pietro kissed his sister and the little children , The older brother had said goodbye earlier and gone to work, but the three little children milled around their mothers dress. Ferrucchio kissed each in turn and they scurried back into the fold of the dress. He finally gave his mother an embrace and a kiss and climbed into the car. Pietro and his wife climbed into the car, then with some final word of comfort and cheerio, the car started off stickily in the new snow to drive down the road that swept along the side of the hill toward the village.

The car had gone just a little way when Ferrucchio leant out of the window to wave his hand and call some words.

“What’s that Ferrucchio, what did you say?” Carmina cried to the going car.

“I didn’t hear Mama,” the eldest girl said.

“Ferrucchio!…ah, what did he say.” She stepped hurriedly forward and automatically snatched the tea-towel off her shoulder. “He’s gone, oh dear,…Ferrucchio,” she whispered as she stepped quickly down the road to keep sight of the car, the soft new snow dappled on to her hair “They’re all gone now” she spoke to herself as she felt the finality of it all “They’re all gone…Giorgio… Biacchio…now Ferrucchio” and she spoke in a hollow-voiced cry as if trying to catch her breath. She had put on a brave face at the departure but now it had all deserted her, she felt so empty, a low hoarse whimper came with every breath and her long face contorted with her mouth agape.

“We’re here Mama”. the girl child, now upset too, cried “I’ll stay with you Mama.”

“Ferrucchio,” Carmina called hopelessly as she hurried forward so as to keep the car in sight as if that very action would preserve the image of her child and the feeling of his presence would not just vanish, but it was all to no avail, hurrying, suddenly she slipped in the snow and fell on her thigh with one leg under her, she propped herself up on her left arm and brought the tea-towel up to her contorted face as she cried out in her despair..

“Gone!” she cried “Gesu, Gesu…all my men gone…Why do mothers lose their children so…flesh of my flesh…oh Gesu, send them to me…my Giorgio…that I can kiss the fear from his eyes…Biacchio that I can wipe the terror from his brow…send me my Ferrucchio that I may yet embrace him with my love…oh Gesu, Gesu…why is it women always lose their men…where do they go?…what happens to them?…oh Gesu, Gesu”.

She dropped her head and wept uncontrollably with the towel crumpled close to her mouth and the little children tugging at her clothes and worried and the eldest girl saying over and over…

“I won’t leave you Mama, I won’t leave you, I won’t leave you…”

But Carmina stayed humped in the snow and watched the car wind slowly down the hill toward the last twinkling lights of the village washed pale through the new falling snow.

More Journo’ Cameos ( or : What they could be in another life).


When I try to imagine Mr. Oakes in another occupation other than the one he is in now .. ( just WHAT is he again?) He is the owner / sole staff of “Domestic Fix”..a whitegoods repair company that operates out of a very small shop in a side street of one of the larger regional centres.

I see him dressed in one of those dull-blue, full length dust-coats on (a logo on the pockets announces ; “Thyer Rubber Co.” a previous place of employment of Mr. Oakes), the middle button is missing and the coat bulges there from his portly frame. There is always some fidgety piece of machinery in his stumpy, work-stained hands and a vague questioning look on his face…It is obvious from residual crumbs on his cheek that he has just eaten. : A self-employed service-mechanic…probably whitegoods, specialising in microwaves (he is recognised in the industry as a whiz at getting that ‘finish-bell’ to DING! just loud enough). He is slow in attending the customer bell at the front counter, and when he does get there, it is with a look of wide-eyed surprise while still fidgeting with that mechanical object in those stubby-fingered hands. He is known to be clumsy in his application toward his work. His workshop is cluttered, the front counter greasy and it always takes three weeks to get anything fixed because ; “…the part has to come from Melbourne”…and you always leave cursing that he is the only service centre in the town and swearing you will get a new machine next time it breaks down, rather than darken his door again!

His G.P. is forever encouraging him to exercise some more…but he prefers to drink. He was once seen to “run” across a street for an unknown action most singular in his life and in the memory of anyone who knows him.




Ms. Grattan, on the other hand, could well fill the role of librarian..not in a state library, nor local council or university, but rather one of those ‘lost around the back-streets’ “Institute Library” of some anachronistic ” The Ancient Order of Druids” or the “Oddfellows Society” or in her case ; “The Steam Engines Assoc’ Institute Library”.
In her younger years, when she first started there, she was known as an innovator of style…she is recognised as the instigator of the “clutch ‘n’ carry method” for librarians carrying books..a colour-tinted photograph of a much younger Ms. appeared in the “Woman’s Day” magazine of Feb’ 1953 demonstrating her unique grip on a large load of books..she has a copy archived at home and a yellowed-with-age cutting prominent on the wall behind her desk.

She also gained a mention in “The Binder”, an inter-institute mag’, on her innovation of using different colour “tags-for-topics” on her Dewey-filing system….THAT also is archived and a cutting etc…
She has no time for ‘untidy’, chatty people and denies she ever “encouraged” Mr.Glanville Bartlett to propose and never regretted placing Sam “side-valve” Duggin’s donated complete ‘Biggles’ collection on the “For sale…cheap” table by the front doors..citing one particular book ; “Biggles Sees it Through” as a title rather too racy and suggestive for HER library!
She is still “in situ”.

# 5

The Ambulance officer and the policeman compared notes outside the suburban bungalow…the “deceased” was on a trolley next to them…the corpse was covered with a sheet.

“…and the name, is it Hartcher or Hatcher?”…..

“Hatcher, H-a-t-c-h-e-r…for god’s sake get that right.” the policeman said “I booked a senior-cit’ for D.U.I. the other night and he insisted he check I had the spelling correct for his first name…’Piers’, he said..’ P-i-e-r-s’…good job he spelt it out…I had it down as ‘ PLIERS’ gotta get it right!”

They turned their attention to the deceased..The sheet was strangely raised “tent-like” at about mid-way down the corpse..the copper winced ;

” Death by misadventure, I’d say….are you going to extract that thing?” The ambulance officer raised both his hands flat.

“Not me!…I’ll leave THAT to the pathology chaps!…that’s why we’ve got him on his stomach…too hard.”

The policeman lifted the sheet and looked closely at the “offending object”…

” What IS that thing?”….

The ambulance officer brought out his “i pad” and punched in some letters…

” There, on Wikipedia…it’s a oriental fly-whisk….I’d even go so far to say it could be very similar to the one shown. He picked it up in Sarawak last spring, according to his partner…loved it…it was part of his “get-up”……

“Get-up?” queried the copper…The ambulance officer took him to one side of the ambulance.

“It seems he used the whisk “inserted” as a tail-piece,” he lowered his voice “…. they “role play” but in a different way….to get off…in a sex-romp thingy and he accidentally fell backwards….according to the surviving partner ; “Rooster in the Hen-house”..HE was the rooster, the partner was the hen…that’s why he has the feather coated mittens on and the “cocks-comb” shower-cap….” the ambulance officer made little flapping motions ..”.. wings.., you know?”…

The policeman looked at him strangely…

“NO!…I don’t know!…but I get what you mean…just how far in has that handle gone?…it looks chockers!”….the ambulance officer dropped the sheet back down and sighed..

“Dunno, but I reckon it’ll take a three-armed clamp and a hydraulic puller to remove it!…if that wiki-pic is anything to go by…that end knob looks nasty!”

“What was his occupation?”….the policeman checked his clipboard…he read out ;

“It seems..he was some sort of political adviser…to…to….phew!”…he showed the clipboard to the ambulance officer, who upon recognising the name immediately took from his pocket his mobile phone and pushed the camera option…the policeman did the same…

“..just for the record.”…..

“same”, said the policeman.


In front of Janet, on the white, washroom bench, was a small mother-of-pearl hinged box, she was using the mascara pencil from that box to adjust her eye-lining. Her closest friend and confidant was talking to her reflection in the mirror..

“Really, Janety…I doubt they would even give a thought to it !”

The identification tag pinned to her blouse announced her as “Janety..:Communications Editor, Promotion Publications Inc.” Janet demanded the name shortening of Janety be used from an early age..She didn’t really like Janet and she abhorred “Jan”, as she said it sounded like someone who makes “fruit spreads in a ric-rac edged apron !”.

“Of course they will!” Janet barked “They are more than likely discussing it as we speak!” her mouth contorted from an “O” to pinched lips as she concentrated.

“Well, I don’t think one raised eyebrow constitutes condemnation…and anyway..with Rupert with all those wrinkles, you can hardly tell if he was bemused, annoyed or constipated!…….anyway, I wouldn’t shed a tear over it.”

“I’m certainly not one for shedding a tear, Connie…not at all!”

Which was mostly true…The last time Janet had shed a tear was when she was ten years old and they were taking her pet guinea pig “Adolph” to the vet to be put down…as her mother explained to her at the time…:

“It’s cancer, Janety…and you know what the vet said last week…I think it is time to say goodbye to “Adolph.”….and of course, Janet was of the pragmatic mind even then to accept the inevitable.

” Yes, I know…but I will re-name him first as I don’t like putting down anything named Adolph…I shall re-name him ‘Abraham’..”

On the way to the vet in the back seat of the Range Rover, it was the only time she shed a tear…the little guinea pig, held tightly in his owner’s lap struggled and in restraining him, Janety was bitten….it hurt so sharply she gave a little gasp and a tiny tear crept into her eyes. Suddenly, she hated the little beast, as much as she hated anything physically weak..( and isn’t falling ill to a fatal disease as weak as one could get?) if it had betrayed her affections, she pressed her thumb fiercely into it’s tiny throat and clamped it’s little body tighter…she pressed and pressed until she felt a small but strangely satisfying “crick”….her mother looked in the rear-view mirror…

“Are you alright, Janety? “…….

“Yes…yes, quite alright….now..aren’t we ‘Abe’ ? ” she replied.

The vet was surprised and cast leery eye to Janet before declaring that ..

” Well, I suppose the shock coupled with the illness must have done the trick and he died on the way here in the car…all’s well that ends so…I suppose”…but he did look curiously at Janet.

And now here was Connie prattling on about something she obviously knew nothing about….

“Connie…I KNOW how such things go down with men, especially when said by a woman….and to make a complete ass of oneself in front of the director of the ; “Orange Grove Organic Juice and Yoghurt Cooperative” by declaring at the announcement of lunch ; ‘ Oh wonderful…I’m ravished!’ when obviously I meant “famished” will go down in the minutes as the “femme faux pas” of all time….Really, Connie…you’re such an innocent, sometimes I could strangle you !”