The Making and Marring of a Baby Boomer.

Mick..A character study.

It never ceases to amaze me how some people can compress the whole spectrum of human emotions re. disgust, despair, weariness etc. into a short, sharp comment. “Jesus wept!” Bubblehead passed his hand wearily over his eyes. Mick had just that minute walked through the bar-room doors. It had been nearly one year since Mick … Continue reading

Mrs. Hancock.

It’s funny, you know…; the image of adults one has as a child, compared to the actual reality known by the adults of the time around you. Mrs. Hancock used to cut our hair when we were children…the four of us ; from the oldest brother (about 10 yrs) , down incl’ to my sister, … Continue reading

Mrs. Fookes and The Marino Fish Shop.

Let me tell you the story of another fish and chip shop owner. A woman too..not arrogant, nor opinionated or accusative…Oh, she was not a quiet retiring type. She had the voice and stride like a sergeant major..she would call for her child and he would hear her loud and clear half a mile away!…and … Continue reading

Kids, Cultural Differences and Willy Wilson’s Ferrets.

When one reflects on some of those past acts of terrorism it seems the culprits of a certain “terrorism raid” were teens from 14yrs…backed by “adults”…Jeesus..how frightening!..it would have scared the bejeesus out of us as kids, so when my big brother , with the help of his ‘Junior Chemistry Set’ purchased by the adults … Continue reading

“Static Electricity”.

I hope I have not given the impression that the only intellectual activity in the front bar of the Seacliff Hotel was “bending the elbow”…and getting inebriated?….I would like to assert that, like many front bars dotted about this great country, a good deal of instructive and philosophical comment was conducted on any given night … Continue reading

Glen and Mrs. Wright.

Did I ever tell you about Mrs. Wright and Glenn?..no?..Well, they were two “locals” down at the Seacliff Hotel…back in the old days, some of the last of that “war generation” that were retired or on the point of when we younger folk came along and taught them how to drink! Mrs. Wright was a … Continue reading

“Sos”.

“Sos.” You had to feel for Sos…He was one of those people raised in an institution from a very young child…”Minda Home”…that what it was called once, but the name was changed to ‘Minda Incorporated”…there was a personal slur in this state by using that original name…ie; to call someone a ;”minda” was to imply … Continue reading

Nan.

  Getting back to that “Last Supper” thingo…you notice (as have many others) one of the “Apostles” looks remarkably like a woman…well, that’s because she is!…It’s no secret that whenever a group of “alpha-males” gather, there is always one token female allowed into the group. She is there as the “straight- man” for their confabulations … Continue reading

Jasper / The Tank Sisters.

Jasper was a “Balt’ ”..ie; he was of those states centered around the Baltic Sea..perhaps he could have been Estonian…he was a tall ponderous sort of chap…with a long serious gaze, with one of those what are called “lantern jawed” faces. He always spoke in a slow , carefully chosen word way..I don’t wonder many … Continue reading

Jim..A character study.

  A Sunday reflection….stories from a “wasted” decade. Henry Lawson once said the if you were drunk more than twice a week, you were never sober…using that as a premise, I can confidentially state that many of us boomers in the seventies were rarely sober! The story goes that Jim, on visiting the dentist to … Continue reading

Toothless.

Toothless wasn’t really toothless…it’s just that she had a plate that filled the gap of three missing front teeth, that she would click and clack and sometimes push out with her tongue …an unfortunate habit that gained her the nickname of “Toothless”. She was ahead of her time for those days, as she didn’t carry … Continue reading

Steve.

Steve . He was a study in tragedy…because of what he had become from what he once was. In the early days, you’d see Steve sitting in a tatty, stuffed lounge chair in one of the many dives and squats he frequented down “The Bay” (Glenelg) , his acoustic guitar cradled in his lap, a … Continue reading

Billy Guy.

Billy Guy wasn’t so much a mystery as an enigma…and that only because he spoke with such a thick Scottish accent that nobody could understand a word he said. Mark could claim that he knew him best, having spent a whole evening drinking with him, conversing with him while both were in an inebriated state..but … Continue reading

Erroll’s Prawn Night.

The “Pub Gathering” was interesting , if for all the other things, the Hotel where it was held. I have “history” with that establishment…lesser so than my old “alma puttana” ; The Seacliff Hotel…it was There that I forged an alliance (however accidental) with Beelzebub!….ahh!..the “demon drink” did for all us youth in THAT den … Continue reading

Jack Mitchell.

Jack Mitchell shared the family home with his two sisters after the parents passed away..none of them ever married. Not that there were ever any suggestion of  dubious behaviour amongst them one way or the other, it’s just that they never married..though I was told by a person who knew him,years later that “Joking Jack” … Continue reading

To The Lighthouse.

“One must forgive the young their foolishness, for without them, there would not seem so much wisdom in old age.”…Socrates. Ah!..Friday nights, didn’t we look forward to them. But we were young and carefree in those days. A group of us young bucks would meet after work at the Seacliff Hotel on Fridays and imbibe … Continue reading

End of stories.

Steve.

Man playing guitar and a woman with phone — string instrument, guitar  player - Stock Photo | #124366722

Steve .

He was a study in tragedy…because of what he had become from what he once was. In the early days, you’d see Steve sitting in a tatty, stuffed lounge chair in one of the many dives and squats he frequented down “The Bay” (Glenelg) , his acoustic guitar cradled in his lap, a wide smile on his fragile delicate featured face, and he would be engaged in an enthusiastic esoteric analysis of the meaning of life with any young lass nearby…these young women were usually itinerants passing through the squat and were themselves in search of that elusive “me”…most of them were in reality middle-class hippies escaping from stultifying pre-war generation parents who wanted to see them betrothed and off their hands and into a “good marriage” w/kids before they were 25 yrs old…So they were out for a bit of adventure armed with bright eyes, an experimental nature and a regular supply of the pill.

Steve was keen to assist in all facets of their education.

And so he cultivated this air of the “wandering minstrel  I ” with a repertoire of light, airy conversation, a mix of rote-learned poetry, a permanent smile and keenly agreeable nodding head with a rising crest of wavy hair brushed so it resembled the southerly break of surf at Boomer Beach…and a regular supply of nefarious substances he was willing to share to these “soul mates”.

Steve always had that guitar handy and now and then he would pluck…not a complete tune…but bits and pieces of chords…he’d place that rolly-ciggy in between his lips, squint his eye from the trickle of smoke and concentrate on striking up a bar or two from a known song..but that’s all he’d do…a bit of a recognisable chord or a bar or two…and then he’d interrupt his “playing” to extract the cigarette and place one palm over the strings and extrapolate on the musicology of the unplayed piece.

He really was impressive in his knowledge of the deeper meanings of those songs.

He drove from squat to pub to dive to party in an old Austin A40 convertible..and it suited him..the paint was faded, the bumptuous shape contrasted against his willowy youthful form, and the fact that it was a convertible meant that he could place that guitar in a conveniently visible place in the back seat…just in case it was needed.

This lifestyle continued for some years, right up until the mid-seventies, when both grotty squats and free-wheeling hippy girls started to be hard to come by, and Steve now a tad older and showing his age, never being the most employable type of person, was reduced to couch surfing on friends benevolence and trying to chat up the girls who frequented the bars in the Seacliff Hotel..His fortune in both categories was soon exhausted and he started to take more drugs and in consequence look more seedy.

His once-brushed wavy hair grew more lank and he substituted brush for Welsh-combing..His once boyish laughter now became more a hardened shrill and that wide smile a cruel grimace..the end game was approaching.

One of the last times I ever saw him, was at the front bar of the Seacliff Hotel..he’d been living in a distant suburb so had not frequented this side of town for a while..Now here he was sitting on a bar-stool in that girly cross-legged manner he always had, the rolly in hand and the other arm pressing down on a slim leather satchel on the bar top…I said my greetings and passed the usual idle chatter with him, but the leather folder drew my attention..

“What’s in the satchel…sheet music?” I pointed.

“This..” he said in a secretive whisper “Is my evidence”. He smiled his “new smile”.

“For what?” I persisted.

“For a claim I intend to bring against my ex-landlord..” and he gently tapped the folder “It’s all recorded in here..every leaking tap or faulty door lock..I’ve got them all listed down…oh yes..he won’t get me that easy…”

And he proceeded to relate to me the ongoing conflict he had with his last landlord and why he was thrown out of the old shack he was renting…It was a sad tale of the obvious..and Steve ticked off on his grubby hand, every perceived insult, every incriminating action, every bit of “evidence” that he was sure would secure him a hefty compensated win in any court of law..of which it was only a matter of time before he would “consult his lawyer” and . . .

Steve had almost lost his mind…and that guitar he would always have by his side was nowhere to be seen…I remarked upon this anomaly later to Mark..

“Nah…he pawned it to buy some “gear”…”

“That’s bad luck, he must miss the playing.” I whimsically observed.

“What playing?…” Mark snorted “ He was lucky he could put those chords together that he did!..I was there when he first bought it from the pawn shop..he never could play a full song, it was just an image he projected for the girls..”

I nodded a disappointed face and went back to my beer..it’s never good to see anyone fall from grace.

Down the Aisle.

Your shopping correspondent’s report..

With Ambrose Quint.

Series 4

#1

Happy specials, shoppers!

Was greeted as I came through the shopping mall doors by a shopping trolley with comparable prices sign advertising that the same trolley-full of products at THIS centre would cost the shopper approx. $40.00 less!…”Check this out shoppers!”…There was a lady at the information desk nearby where the security chain from the trolley ended and I asked if the cost difference included the shoplifting fine?….. she laughed and laughed…

But it’s true..shoplifting is a grave concern..and so many funny things get stolen, I was told..but the lady wouldn’t go into details..I remarked that I suppose the usual slithy toves and wippowills are the things most baffling..she said that she was not familiar with THOSE products..

One thing that I did discuss with the woman at the desk that was of concern to me, and OUGHT to be to the management was ..: “The Displacer”…you know..that mysterious person or persons who take..oh, say..a snack-bar from that section and will slip in with the plastic containers in another section…displacing it.

I have my suspicions about these people..and I shared them with the wide eyed information officer..woke her up to a conspiracy, I shouldn’t wonder..We can expect to hear more on this subject from the management.

What happens with these displacers, in my opinion, is that it is NOT a haphazard operation by either older forgetful shoppers or harassed parents snatching unwanted items from light-fingered kids and replacing them back on a shelf…No..this is an organised affair by a sophisticated group of people..a club..if you like.

Here’s how it works..:

A member is selected to “compete” in a weekly or monthly event, where they are judged on the number, quality and deviousness of their displacement..They wander innocently up and down the aisles while they “do their business”..an “approved” judge follows unobtrusively behind, marking points for or against the displacer according to the aforementioned criteria..for instance..10 points (the max’) could be awarded for displacing a tub of yoghurt amongst the frozen fish products..(a daring performance!) whereas only 3 points for the muesli bar being dumped among the bread-rack..(a limp-wristed attempt!)…some points, I suspect, would be deducted if a “competitor” fumbles, is noticed or drops the displacing article in the course of the action..And the person with the most points at the end of the test period gets to wear the official fluro-vest and is saluted with free libations at the clubroom happy-hour drinks night…I should imagine.

Having told this theory in great detail to the lady at the information desk, I was assured that there could soon be someone wishing to speak to me about my “interesting theories”…So I am now awaiting for a couple of tallish blokes in white coats that should be here any minute..ah! there they are..!

“Yoo hoo!..chaps over here! ..I’m the bloke you’ll be wanting to talk to…I say..this’ll be jolly!…have I got something of interest to tell you!”

So having to now go…till next time shoppers. . .

#2.

Down the Aisle..

Your shopping correspondent.

Happy specials, shoppers!

I see how they do it now..those cunning shelf planners in the supermarkets…How they do product placement in such a way, with the colour-coordination of similar shaped products with their labels all lined up at eye-level and the shiny, bright, flickering labels catching your eye like it does…combined with a cunning and devious use of the fluro lighting from above..A walk down the aisle of the supermarket can be as mesmerising as a hypnotist’s swinging fob-watch!

You become mesmerised by the shiny packaging and the glinting light of the fluros off them so that you cannot even see the product you first set out to buy even when you are standing right in front of the bloody things!!….I mean..THERE THEY ARE!..staring you in the face but you can’t see them because you have just been hypnotised by the continuing stream of another product mesmerising your mind and now instead of purchasing those cotton-wool buds you came down the chemist products aisle to get, you find you have an almost insatiable urge to buy and instantly consume two dozen economy sized boxes of “choco flavoured laxettes”!

Another trick they get you on is the smell-factor…: You’ve been at the shopping for nearly an hour now and the old tummy suddenly starts churning and pushing the “hungreeee” button, just as you reach the cheese counter then on your way past the cooked chicken display…and you can just bet they have some sort of tricky fan there stoked with an msg enhancing chicken scent wafting out over the aisle and creating a olfactory riot amongst the dieting young first-time mothers who have just had babies and are trying to get the bod’ back into shape so they can squeeze back into that size 12 swimsuit they used to fit…it’s cruel..

But if you reckon the health/medical supplies aisle is bad, you wait till you hit the lollies and chocolate dept’!…It’s no accident they have that glinty cellophane wrapper on the lollies..all tumbling out of those little “self-help” boxes like pixies and elves just wanting to frolic about on your taste-buds and help pile on those pounds! …and the chocolate blocks with that golden sheen stroking your vision like a demented Barbara Eden in “I dream of Jeannie”…and don’t tell me it’s just an electrical fault that the fluros flicker in just THAT aisle..so that the hypnotic “voices” calling you from the bars of “Old Gold”(70 % cocoa) , or the crispy wrapped “Mega Mix” of the Ferrero Rocher shelf is a relentless cooee to the ancient animal carnivore in us all crying ; “EAT THE FLESH!…EAT THE FLESH!” sending the more weak-willed chocoholics into a weeping frenzy..(I’ve see it, I tell you!!), tearing wildly at the wrapper and sinking their teeth deliciously and ravenously drooling into the “flesh” of thick hazelnut milk chocolate!!..Can we criticise them?..can we condemn them (I’m asking for a friend)…and, btw…the security personnel ought to show a degree more consideration as well and not just roughly throw them out on their ear!

Till next time…signing off…ouch! ; your shopping correspondent.

#3.

Down the Aisles.

Your shopping correspondent.

Happy specials, shoppers!

“ Work 8,  *  cast off 2 sts.,  work 8 (7) Sts.;  rep.  from * 3 times more (4 in all),  cast off 2 sts., work to end. “

Now some of you may recognise the above code, and no ; it is not derived from the German “Enigma” coding machine, but just a common knitting pattern from an old magazine..what they used to call ; “A woman’s magazine” back in the old days…There used to be similar magazines for men, I believe..but with different subject matter..but they must have also contained many tricky patterns as my big brother wouldn’t let me see his as he said I was too young to “comprehend” ..yes, that’s the word he used…I remember he stalled on that word..nodded and said ; “comprehend”… I used to see my mother index-finger under similar codes in her old “ Woman’s Day” mag’s when I was a child..and to this day I still cannot work the damn things out!

But you would see many mothers carry those decorated, hollowed tubes made of cellophane and cross-stitched wool around the top and bottom with a circular lid and they contained an endless supply of the latest knitting project that could be taken into the picture theatre or where-ever and set to work…One can remember that tense moment in “The Gunfight at the OK Corral” where Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas fight it out together…the clicking of the size 12 needles poised in mid-flight at the zenith of the action . . . then to continue in softer more emotional, gentle strokes for the love scenes with Rhonda Fleming…(here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5cZK_KtriM )..like the most sensitive touch of Buddy Rich caressing a kettle-drum with a “brush”.. a sort of suburban domestic accompaniment along with the highs and lows of the musical score of the film.

And it is much the same for those coded ingredients that one sees highlighted as a “SUPER ADDITIVE” on some products…like : “Now containing OMEGA 3!..FOR EXTRA VITALITY!!”…that sort of thing…and then you have something called the “Glycemic index” followed by a number that could or could not be “GREAT!!” ..and there is the ‘Glycemic Load” as well..there are others..One need not look far down the aisles to find them..secret ingredients or new “super-foods” just overflowing with coded letters and numbers that just ooze health and vitality..where once, the only coded label was the “V8 Tomato Juice” amongst the other juice bottles..The same sort of things can be found in “off-the-shelf” medicines in any chemist shop..it creates an air of cynical shopping experience I can tell you!

Talk about another sight that one is seeing much more of these days down the aisles..and that is the altering dress-code for the young, sartorial conscious men..

Have you, like myself, noticed the shocking new fashion for the post hipster era of young males in the socks department?…ghastly, multi-coloured things displayed by “flagging” trousers above the ankles!..or else those ankle-socks (I refuse to use the American spelling of : sox )that female tennis players use…or even worse…now brace yourselves fellow shoppers…: NO SOCKS!!…Can there be a more indecent sight than a male wearing patent-leather shoes and NO SOCKS ??…it grates on the psyche almost as much as the finger-nail down the blackboard!…one feels violated!

But one has to admit that the idea of one set fashion, be it cultural or couture, is not applicable these days of stretch lycra and trakky-daxs . put the two together and you got a Kardashian arse on a twiggy frame…not a pleasant sight for any male that still harbours any vestige of youthful memories of Annette Funicello or Gidget goes West!…how’s the song go?..; something about ;”. . . that which is lost upon the way…”…or something like that..and then there’s those loud, super bright glasses that hipsters and even some “just past middle-age” people like to wear..perhaps to draw attention to themselves..I know you can’t see anything else BUT those things when they are talking to you..some couples have matching pairs..sort of a “Kath and Kel” thing I suppose..is it a “metro-man” thing or just “unisex”…dunno…

Oh well..until next time, this is your shopping correspondent signing off..

(Ps; don’t forget to grab those saucepan coupons!)…

#4.

Down the Aisles

Your shopping correspondent.

Country Swap-meet special edition..

Happy specials, shoppers!

There are two noticeable things you can definitely claim about the boomer generation..They have singularly cemented the denim jean into its permanent place in history and they are positively the last generation that will, regardless of the weather, fearlessly (hu)man the stalls at these swap-meets.

The denim jean on the aged body of the ..particularly..male baby boomer serves as both a object of decorum and ridicule…decorum as it thankfully is the final, secure fragment of cloth between the public and the even more gross private and it is hoped that never the twain shall meet..at least not eye to eye..and we’ll leave it at that…ridicule , because by the time the boomer generation has reached a certain age, that slim, trim body that once could support a pair of hipsters denims with elan and style, along with the stud-belt, has lost much of its hips and the now gross distortions of a body wasted on bad diet and drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, cannot support much style and those marvellous denims have slipped to a depth of depravity that exposes those more fleshy portions of the body to too much cold air..particularly at this time of the year..the hipster jeans has descended to the crackster baggies!

And the second thing is; being about the last generation that actually has the know-how to fix things, those aged mechanics and handypersons hold on their stalls all the accoutrements of DiY dreamers..spanners, screwdrivers, electrical clips and calipers…but their clientele is fading..as the older patrons drop off to aged care home or Harley-Davidson Valhalla, there is none of the next generation to replace them..relying, as the gen X and Y tend to do on an App on their mobile phone to solve any number of problems…EXCEPT…how to tune the Holly-4 bbl-carburettor or adjust the “dizzy”…let alone re- install an “Edelbrock” hi-rise manifold..so if I were you, I’d get myself down to the next swap-meet near you and have a good look around at history in the breaking, because they have to be a dying species.

It became noticeable whilst one perused the different eras of the stall offerings, that music complimentary to the goods on sale was belted out from the intestines of Nissan van or trailer..For instance, where the items on the tables were deliberately of the “sixties”, you could tap your fingers to, say, the throaty voices of Dusty Springfield or Helen Shapiro..and if from the “eighties/nineties”, some sort of wailing ‘death-metal’ guitar and incomprehensible growling voice wafted from the van..and one had to wonder on there being so many old blokes with showing scalp through long, wispy grey hair and long wispy beards to match…like a live view of the blokes in ZZ Top …and the tatts’….why does everybody think they can improve on the human body with tatts’!!??…if the bod’ is gross, no amount of “inking” to the point of a full “body suit” is going to improve it..and what’s all this Lemmy Kilmister impersonation with the bent hat, hanging fag and cadaverous hairy face?…it didn’t look good on him and I cannot see any improvement with a “tribute band” impersonation…Adonis is the male measure of handsome..NOT Lemmy!

And the stuff on the stalls!!??….I thought  – I – had a shed or two full of the most strangest, valueless odds and sods…but man!!…

The truth being, I suspect, is that many of the stall-holders, with just a scattering of things for sale, do it just to get out of the house..to get some company..to meet people..and good luck to them..it’s gotta be better than Tinder!

Until next time, this is your shopping correspondent signing off.

#5.

Down the aisle..

your shopping correspondent.

Happy specials, shoppers!

They’re taking the mickey out on us, of course..by “us”, I mean us baby-boomers.. The good lady has the March edition of a cooking magazine open to the page showing a vegan pizza!…a vegan pizza do you mind..

“Oh well,” I reflect as I stir the proffered cup of “ginger zinger” tea..(I almost added milk!) “I suppose you could use the recipe there and just throw the salami on top as well to cheer it up”..

“It says to use “cauliflower mince” as the topping..” she read out.

“Cauliflower mince!!??” I exclaim…” WTF is cauliflower mince??” But of course it is a wasted protest..you see, we are both getting to that age where the medicinal diet is an imperative if you want to make 100 years with still a bit of lead in the pencil..and now it is only in sentimental daydreams of a wasted youth in Darwin that I can “taste” that “super-size” take-away meal of “Porky’s spare ribs” with side bag of chips and sauce, washed down with many cans of that gentle beer and a television replay of the “laugh a minute” “Father Knows Best”!…Ahh!,,they knew how to make sit-coms in those days.

I remember a past marriage when we were mixed up with an “alternative education group” and my then partner adopted what could best be called “alternative protein” foods with fanatical zeal, and tofu and tabouli was a fixed item on our weekly menu..Tabouli goes well with a nice cut of lamb..a nice juicy cut of lamb..NOT tofu..tofu goes well sitting in its plastic packaged wrap in the rack of the fridge door..and staying there until it goes green and you then chuck it out!.

It got to the stage where I would cunningly seek forewarning of such meals and stop off at a known small-town bakery on my way home from a hard day’s work and fill up on their renowned protein enriched pies and perhaps a macaroon or two..they had wonderful macaroons.

Needless to say, that marriage failed on the grounds of gastronomical cruelty.

But then when I was last at the mega shopping emporium, I had to park up the trolley while the good lady perused the selections of flours..besan, lupin, f#ckin’ spelt, buckwheat…is there a hemp flour?…because there oughta be!..there’s hemp everythin else!..: Hemp seeds, hemp oil, hemp protein..and I believe you can even get..wait for it!..: hemp beer!..it’s cruel, isn’t it!?..and of course there nothing you can do with the hemp except, I’ll bet, plonk it on some vegan pizzas or something..Though you can’t tell me some wide-eyed hop-head hasn’t bought a pack of seeds and tried to grow his own, just on the off chance. . .

Ah..I’ve just about had enough of it..all this growing old and healthy is about as bad as growing old and sober..there’s little to recommend it, it’s like that episode of “The Hollow Men” where the garrulous old politician flings the capers out of his sandwich..

“Why do they want to continually try to re-invent the f#ckin’ sandwich!!?”

I’d say the same with pizza..: “If it aint broke, DON’T f#ckin’ vegan it !! “

Until next “Super Wednesday” shopping experience…this is your correspondent signing off.

Down the Aisle.

Your shopping correspondent’s report.

With Ambrose Quint.

Series 3..

#1.

Down the Aisle.

Your shopping correspondent.

Happy specials, shoppers!

They gotta do something about these trolleys. They just aren’t designed for the male skeletal structure. You see a man pushing a shopping trolley and it looks like he is wrestling with it, like it is some strange beast..holding it at bay lest it turn on him and do some damage. Perhaps a handle more vertical, in keeping with those old “cow-horn” push-bike handlebars where a dozen-long-necks kit-bag would snugly fit, or perhaps like the ones on a trail-bike…that’s ; moto-cross bike btw.

I notice this because I see more men shopping by themselves these days..perhaps “on the ground” evidence of a rising divorce rate amongst the older generation..Grey-haired gentlemen shuffling up and down the aisles looking a little bit lost..but then, they ARE getting better at the art of shopping.

I suppose those years after retirement pushing the trolley for “the little lady” has taught them some of the basic rudiments of product purchasing…and I have witnessed several times an older couple come close to blows when the male tries to “muscle-in” on their wife’s ( I have to say ;”wife’s”…the androgenous ; “partner” does not feel a snug fit for that generation) selection process. So perhaps the lessons learned from those encounters may now serve them well for their solo ventures into the wilds of the mega-market aisles.

Getting back to the fact that men now seem better at shopping than they used to..I recall the days of yore when a newly divorced man would roam the supermarket aisles like a lost elk, eyes wide for the possibility of fierce Panthers or the odd Siberian Tiger ready to spring at them from the shelves..such were the frightening array of products there..and they would traipse up and down, aisle after aisle with the only product rolling and cannonading about the trolley being some recognisable comfort food, like packet of iced vo-vo’s or that great smoko standby; ‘Arnott’s Monte-Carlo’ biscuits…a modern tragedy.

But now, I witness many men approach the shelves with an air of confidence..pick out a product, turn it around and over several times (their eyes darting this side and that to see if any nearby shoppers show doubt of their integrity) LOOK like they know what they are looking for..then chuck it in the trolley and move on. You can tell the newies to “the game” as THEIR trolley will contain many products purchased from the same aisle..and THAT aisle with the most colours and bling!…hypnotised, as I have observed in an earlier post, by the repetition of shape, colour and light…after all, how many bottles of “Kewpie” mayonnaise does a bloke need with his “Nasi Goreng” spice mix and 3 minute noodles?

And then there the “almost over it” males..I was passed by such a one confidently striding with head high, just today.. His trolley exhibited a salubrious variety of carb’s, protein, fruit and veggies suitable to brand him a consumer of a reasonable balanced diet..AND ..as one male to another, I have to proclaim he did the gender proud for his ostentatious display of five-high stack of twin-pack pure beef pies!…”NEVER SAY DIE!”…and what with a short visit to the local pub drive-through for a slab, there goes a man with the weekly shopping damn well done and a display of all the airs and grace of true, manly independence…You can just bet HE had hairs on HIS chest!

Until next time..Happy shopping, customers!

#2.

Down the Aisle.

Your shopping correspondent.

Happy specials, shoppers!

Those of us of a certain age will recall that statement from the TV show ; “The Naked City”, spoken in a gravitas voice , with a narrator intoning the iconic line: “There are eight million stories in the naked city. This has been one of them.” . Well, I’d like to report that a similar (although lesser amount I’d warrant) situation can be gleaned by casual conversations down the aisles of your local supermarket.

Was myself engrossed in the selection of  a packet of “Carman’s Muesli bars” in our local mega market there in Nuri’…(“If you’re not livin’ in Nuri’, you’re livin’ nowhere”) , conflicted between selecting the “Super berry muesli bars” and the old favourite ;” Dark chocolate and cranberry protein bar”….I had the latter box in my hand and was perusing the nutritional table of contents, looking for ANY possible alcohol content therein, when the shelf-stacking lady, right there next to me saw my intense concentration on the protein bars and thrust a rather large bag of “Hemp Protein Powder” under my nose and chimed..;

“Here’s a super protein for you…give you all the ‘get-up-and-go’ you’ll need!”

“Crikey!” I exclaimed “What I can mistily recall from those people I knew in my young years who had a familiarity with the hemp plant was that the last thing they had was get up and go!…more like ; lay-back-and trip-out!”

And she agreed with a hearty laugh…We were then joined by another lady our own age and she backed my statement up…and added that her tale of her old man of those years, who was a truck driver and used certain nefarious substances to sustain him on those long dreary drives.

“Dope!?…” I exclaimed “Surely that would make him a tad dangerous behind the wheel?”…and I made “whoa..whoaa!” motions like I was wildly steering a big rig  ( I like saying that expression :The BIG RIG..it sounds so macho-male!!..: “ I..drive a BIG RIG!…there, take that!” )..and I do confess to mentioning that I knew of truck drivers that were less than reliable in control of those enormous machines, breaking open Codral cold tablets (in the bad old days, mind!) to get the little pink pill of (I believe) ephedrine based stuff in the middle.

“Oh yes” the second lady admitted..”My old man had me as his “chemist”, grinding the tablets up with a mortar and pestle , and because the ephedrine was heavier than the codeine, I would have to puff away the lighter powder to leave the stuff he used behind…”

We three then reflected humourously on the behaviour of our acquaintances in those halcyon days of endless summers, rolled joints and frothy beers.. I had cause to recall one such episode to the ladies on my attraction (now lightly diminished) to the worthy sport of lawn bowls..

“ I joined the local lawn bowls club when I lived down the coast way back in my thirties..” I said “Well, in those days, it was mostly a conservative refuge for the old and infirm.. much like some of us are now!…So I was one of the youngest there then…and this old fellah in our team asked me…out of interest..what attracted such a young, healthy chap as myself to the sport…’I’ll confess’, I said ‘ I was watching that TV show on lawn bowls..: “Jack High”..and I had just smoked a nice fat joint and I watched as one bloke softly sent that little..leeetle brilliantly, shining white ball down that vast open green space…and then I was absolutely mesmerised as I watched another bowler gently roll down that bigger bowl that followed a shallow,  parabolic     curve     that    went    out    sooooo     wiiiiiiiide  . . .        ( and here I did a Marcel Marceau style impersonation whilst on the one spot, of those bowlers stealthily following their bowl down the green in that hunched back possi’ until I came right up to the television set with an impression of one wide-eye and both hands flat against the screen) …..and it went on and on and on like it was gonna’ take forever to get there….an’ I thought ; Ohh Maannn…that’s  in-fin-ity!!…that’s  the game for me!….and my very-aged team-mates all moved away from me! ”

The ladies were rather amused at my pantomime but then one gave a bit TOO much information of her druggy husband and his flirtations with other ladies while “on the stuff “ that ruined their marriage..; “Everyone was warning me, but I was the last to realise…” , so that put a rather teeth-gritting saddening kybosh on any possible humorous finish to the convers’….

But that’s the way it is down the aisles…there are a million stories down the aisles of the Mega Supermarkets..and this was just one of them…until next time ;

This is your shopping correspondent signing off.

#3.

 Down the aisle..

Your shopping correspondent.

Happy holiday specials, shoppers!

School holidays and the central market is chockers with parents and their kids..sometimes with other parents kids too!..One lady had quite a cluster swarming about her ..

“You got the whole class today?” I asked, to which she agreed and replied ;”Almost!”

Trouble is, they form a kind of grommet bottleneck at all the free-sample stalls…especially the Smelly Cheese places…their hesitant nibbling on a delightful washed rind or Italian hard-cheese occupying so much time that one is tempted to want to abandon the experience altogether….if it wasn’t a free sample..

One trick I do use to get a place in a crowded situation, now that I have age on my side..is to say loud enough in a plaintive kind of weak-wail..: “Is there any room for a retired old fellow?”..and hey..you should see them scatter on a good day!..and of course, the aged fart is always a solid fall-back position…clears a space no worries..

Zuma’s Café, of course, was the usual crowded place, where one has to reluctantly trip up a fellow pensioner and send them sprawling then walking over the top of them to get to secure a table first…You gotta be cruel to be kind to yourself in those crowded cafes..

And there I was re-packing the trolley outside Goodies and Grains, there by the pensioner’s seat when this six or seven year old with those shoes with the secreted wheels on the bottom came scooting past so fast as to nearly sweep me around in a spinning circle…

“Watch out old timer!” he called…the bloody cheek!..old timer indeed!…I tell you what, some of these young-uns…you just got to get one look at ‘em and you know it’s not gonna end well.

Now, just when I’m getting used to those stressed jeans that the young people wear, with the knees ripped and so on..I saw yesterday where they now are wearing those black tights and they are stressing them too..like horizontal runs in the fabric…I dunno..the only way we could rip our jeans back in the old days was by falling off our motorbikes…I suppose you’d call that ; “doing it the hard way”.

And those puffy jackets that seem to be all the rage now..getting around like the top half of the Michelin man doesn’t appeal to me..but I gotta admit, while lacking in style, they do look cosy.

But I did learn a new label while standing outside Standom’s smallgoods and admiring their selection of processed meats..I heard two passing, thin looking people, that in retrospect could very well have been vegans..one commenting to the other in what could be called a sneering whisper..:

“Hrumph!…perving at the flesh there…it’s carnivore porn!”

Well..until next time, shoppers, this is your correspondent signing off.

#4.

Down the Aisle.

Your shopping correspondent’s report.

Happy specials, shoppers.

From the Central market..: Three acts of tragedy.

It is only right and correct that backing up behind the noisy chaos of Zumas Café lunchtime rush, surging like a unstoppable tide against Canute’s Clatter of cutlery was that unmistakable bass kick-off of The Rolling Stones ; “Jumping Jack Flash”.I can recognize it anywhere..

“Whatcha!!….I was borrrrrrn in a crossfire hurricane…”

The perfect beat to cutting and carving my prosciutto bruchetta …’jumpin’ jack flash is a gas, gas, gas…!’..

Ah!..Mick and the boys..

I remember back in my wasted youth, a mate in Darwin telling me of his frustration when having an “afternoon delight” with a lady he knew who demanded they always make love with the music of “Barry White and his Love Unlimited Orchestra” playing an endless-loop in the next room.. It used to drive him nuts!..

“ Hey..can we try the flip-side?” He one day complained to her.

“Oh no, baby” she dreamily responded “ I don’t like ‘back-dooring’ .“

“The record, the record” he quickly corrected.

But to no avail…he had to end the relationship when they released ; “ Barry White ; The best of…”

It’s cruel, y’ know…how some of us Baby Boomers have ended up…not a good look , this “growing old disgracefully”..You see them at the market, still getting around in their denims..their ‘Levi’s”..trouble is, while the mind stays young, the bod’ starts to show it’s age…time to move into the trakky-daks and casuals, people..and..; lose the white runners…the “pensioners peddlers”…please?? It’s a tragedy, that waist-line ; too many years at the front bar when they shoulda’ been on the exercise bike..now, where once a studded belt with that screwdrivered-off-the-Chrysler-V8 buckle was pulled tight around the hipster jeans, it now serves as a kind of hernia belt, keeping the gut from hanging down like a butcher’s apron!

And remember when that skin-tight black Rocker’s “T” shirt had only just enough room in the short sleeve for a soft-pack of ‘Styvo’s”..well now, the front hangs over a protruding beer-gut like Uncle Norm’s verandah..and where once you could only conceal a flick-knife, now you’d have no trouble smuggling half a side of beef past customs at Tullamarine!

And those “Long-shorts” that some of the older blokes have become enamored with..the side pockets bulging with tape measures and side-cutter pliers, I’d bet…THEY are best suited for young blokes who have the calf muscles to match..Jonah Lomu would look ok…Roger Federer..would look ok..but Clem Smith with legs like a chook’s  from Gilles Plains?….nah!

And that’s just the blokes…The ladies?..I am not that foolish to even go there!..at least THEY have the excuse and benefit of the doubt of having a few kids to knock their body about..I would not criticize that section of society….no siree bob!

 Anyway…got some nice grub, some half decent grog and the steaks for the barbi tomorra night…the rest, as they say…

Until next time fellow shoppers…

#5.

Down the aisle..

Your shopping correspondent.

Happy specials, shoppers!

The Queensland Blue Pumpkin.

Tell you what, there’s nothing in the veggie world more says “Aussie” so much as a big, blowsey ol’ Qld’ Blue Pumpkin. And there was a whole pickers bin full of them just there as we walked into the mega market in our regional city.

One cannot but get a tad sentimental about those Blues…it always conjures up a memory of my old mum calling to one of us kids playing cowboys and Indians in the back block to : “ get me one of those pumpkins down from the chook-house roof..and hurry up about it!”….and as you look up to see who called, you get “shot” by “Gene Autry” and have to play dead…but then you gotta get that pumpkin or you’ll like as not get the brush on your backside!

Personally, I now prefer the butternut pumpkin..firmer flesh and better taste..to me at least…but there you go..to each his own. Another thing I prefer over the new fads that are coming onto the veggie stalls, is the “regular” coloured traditional vegetables…now wait a minute!..wait a minute..I’m not interested in those “ancient grains” of the “Paleo diet” thingo…and those “heritage veggies” that have those weird colours and shapes..nah!, nah!..can’t come at those…I mean..: purple carrots??…black tomatoes??..and now I saw on the ABC’s ; Catalyst..purple sweet-corn!!…there oughta be a law…who wants to sit down at the table to be greeted with a technicolour salad?…what next..Insect stew!!??….chunder!..I’d rather die than be reduced to eating insects..it’s WHY we worked at improving agricultural produce..why we left the cave..y’know??

THIS is how it should work..The other day we’re driving home in the old Bedford truck, myself and the good woman…and there’s the horses in the box on the back..it’s been a long day and dusk is on the horizon..it is time to be thinking about dinner..

“What’s for dinner, my love?” I ask…she looks at me through the fog of Radio National’s PM.. and thinks for a moment..

Now hang on..stop right there..I know what you’re thinking in this age of “bugger the male and his wanting the women to cook for them!!”…it’s HER preference….The lady loves cooking..she sees the preparation of food as an art form…and I agree with her…she cooks the exotic and the hearty…we sometimes use the old German vault wood-oven for a special treat…And here I’ll say that when we were courting, I would sometimes cook a meal for her…yes, yes..I had a couple of recipes up my sleeve to pull out when wanting to make an impression…and if I may suggest to other courting men out there..a good guide to follow is ; “The Complete Middle-East Cookbook” by Tess Mallos…Brilliant!..you gather the ingredients listed and follow the instructions TO THE LETTER..you can’t go wrong…The Batchelor’s pal I called it..and I had a couple on those recipes down pat…: “Spanakopita” (Spinach pie) and “Psari Savoro” (Fried fish with rosemary and vinegar) … it always pays to have a couple of standbys up your sleeve to casually drop out to impress the lady…:

“Look”..you say casually “ why don’t you just drop around my place tonight for dinner…I’ll cook a nice “Psari Savoro” for you…”..and you can repeat these two dishes at decent intervals and she’ll be impressed..and there’s the extra bonus of speaking the Greek or whatever title of the dish…suavo!..and then you take her out to dinner in between and…Hey!…do I have to tell you everything!!??…jeezus!..sort yourself out..

Anyway..where was I…oh yes…she replies..:

 “Beef stew with dumplings in a Newcastle brown-ale.”…and she goes back to the iphone.

Y’see?…THAT’S how a hearty dinner should be..that’s normal..: A long winter’s day, a long drive home, I muck the shit out of the stables, settle and feed the horses and un-pack the truck to be driven into the big shed and the lady gets our tea ready..and what’s for dinner…: A hearty Beef stew w/ dumplings in a Newcastle brown-ale…..it doesn’t get any better than that!…and you can forget the exotic coloured veggies!

Looking forward to the next report, shoppers!

Till next time..or rather…till the next series…signing off…; your shopping correspondent.

Down The Aisle.

Your Shopping Correspondent’s report..

With Ambrose Quint.

#1.

Hello and Happy holiday specials, shoppers! Ambrose here and in this series I will be taking you “Down the aisles” to report on those special products and moments in the wonderful world of the domestic shopping centres and emporiums…A world of excitement and discounts awaits!

Let us leap into our journey!

I’d like to take this opportunity to recommend ; ‘Natasha’s’ Pomegranate and chocolate cake mix. I have it on good authority , one ; Lorna Roesler , who upon noticing the above product under my inquiring scrutiny, solemnly informed me ;” That is a nice one, that is…made it for my grand-daughter’s christening party…was appreciated all ‘round”…and she tapped the box and nodded her approval…and went on her way to turn the corner by the San Remo spaghetti stand.

Now I wouldn’t want you to think I dwell too long at the cake mix shelf..it is only a convenience stop while the Other Half peruses the John West tuna tins ..always searching out, like the alchemists of old ; the philosophers stone..that elusive ; “Tuna with brine” tin..they don’t seem to make them anymore..she scorns the w/tomato, peppers or other condiments and will grudgingly accept the tuna w/ springwater substitute…the cake shelf is just there over the aisle..and I have to say ; I AM intrigued by those gorgeous pictures of the perfect cakes on the packet…as much as some perverts are attracted by those perfect legs on the panty-hose packets or the stunning blondes on the home-perm packs…I linger very little at any of the above..I want you to trust me on that!

But I have to say, I have seen several middle-aged shoppers handle those packs of food-wrap sealed meat trays with a fondness beyond mere purchase curiosity…I see them rub their thumb over the taut film of wrap covering the ‘lamb loin chops’ so it “squeals” and “chatters” with tantalizing intensity..almost comparable to a squeal of delight!…maybe THAT is the attraction..and then , having stretched the tension out, they move on, thinking no-one is noticing their apparent interest, to the next……..but ..I..am watching..I am always watching…I am watching you all !!

Until next time, this is your shopping correspondent signing off.

Down the Aisle.

Shopping Correspondent’s Report.

With Ambrose Quint.

#2.

Happy Holiday specials, shoppers!

Although one is reticent to admit of little discernable difference in weight for weight “in hand” measure between the “Messy Jessy” sticky-orange and almond semolina cake and “Greens” zesty orange mix, I am drawn toward Messy’s for the warmth of the personal piccy of the young lady on the cover of the box…a delightful portrait of what looks like a conscientious cake baker if ever there was one….more power to her I say!

Anyway, there I was , a box in either hand , when an elderly lady bustled up to pluck a muffin-mix from the shelf..The lady was noticeable amongst the shopping surge by the fact that she was sporting a shiny, complex looking mechanical prosthetic lower limb!…I held her sleeve before she could escape..

“That looks expensive” I motioned toward the damn fine machinery protruding down from her shorts.

“Too bloody right it is” and she leant in to whisper ; “One hundred and ten thousand dollars…inc. gst.” And she nodded.

I gave a low whistle of respect.

“And can you get it on the national health?” I asked.

“No way…and they have a new model out..”The Cougar”(I think she said that!) one hundred and fifty thousand dollars” She noticed my raised eyebrows “ But it’s better than a wheelchair !”

“I bet the kids love it” I proposed.

“Oh yeah..they come rushing up and say ; “Cool! I want one!”…Oh no you don’t, I say..no you don’t”..and she strode confidently away. I have to say I agree with that last statement.

This is your shopping correspondent signing off for another fortnight.

Down the Aisle.

Your shopping correspondent’s report.

With Ambrose Quint.

#3.

Happy holiday specials, shoppers!

Hello fellow shoppers..just back from that  bohemia of bargains and I have to report that Ms. Betty Croker has one-up on her competitors in the cake-mix dept’ ..: the new “soft-pak” bag of cake mix…no more chaffed corners and leaking tears..the new papery/plastic bag gives that “soft touch” to a serious product..but I do miss the feeling of mystery when one “feels” the weight without squeezing the contents..oh well..technology an’ all that.

Onto the complaints dept’..: Different coloured items of the same veggie product…don’t like it!…I see carrots have now been given the “technicolour shine”, as have cocktail tomatoes..the carrots look totally unappealing…I won’t have them..and today I see pre-packs of cocktail tomatoes with several different coloured types..outrageous..yellow, red and brown!…The brown ones are those so-called “Black Russian” variety..the “good lady” had me try to grow some..got a few off the plant..weird..half red / green / dun-brown..not really black at all!..and the ones in the pre-pack were decidedly brown, so they looked like wombat droppings!..can’t come at ‘em at all !…if it ain’t broke..don’t fix it! ..I say.

Had the devil’s own job finding the “almond milk”..looked high and low and they turn out to be in the real milk section…who’d a thunk it?..along side ; soy, coconut, rice milk…now I have always thought COWS and other animals were milked, but by jingo…they have taken this miniturisation technology to a new level!..milking a grain of rice now…I’ll be jiggered!

Asked a woman packing heaps of brown onions into a shopping bag if it meant a heavy BBQ. weekend?

“No” she innocently replied “My husband likes them raw…has been for the thirty-eight years we have been married”…

Damn joint is getting over-run with LNP. voters!

Catch you down the aisles next time..and always remember : “It’s not the specials that matter most, it’s the smile of the checkout person when you groan at your bill”.

Down the Aisle.

Your shopping correspondent’s report.

With Ambrose Quint.

#4.

Happy holiday specials, shoppers!

On a different theme today, not withstanding the news from the packaged cake mix shelf that “The Little Brownie Co.” has nudged “Messy Jessie” off the main shelf over to the ancillary shelf ..sad, really, to see that delightful young cook “remainded”..though I do notice that “White Wings” has maintained complete domination of the shelf space!..Isn’t it always the same : Corporations rule!

But that’s not what I wanted to report today from the shopping. The most amazing thing happened..You know how difficult those unwieldy shopping trolleys can be with a full load?..well, I came swishing around the corner of aisle 7, cut close to the rack of “Sienna chopped tomatoes” and lined myself up on “the right line”(as they say in the motorcycle racing game) to cut into the rice rack for a quick pick-up of “Doongari Clever Rice”…and there, right in front was another fully laden trolley navigated by this slip of a girl !..evasive action was applied by both of us to avoid a collision..and I do not think I need to describe the consequences of such a disaster of two fully laden shopping-trolleys colliding at full-pitch…ISIS. would have claimed responsibility for the resulting mayhem!

But just as it seemed inevitable, the strangest thing happened ; We both put in place, with synchronistic timing our “ collision prevention plan”..With my left hand in a firm grip on the trolley handle, and my right on the basket corner of the trolley, I pulled off the most amazing 90 deg. Spin around..and the lady did EXACTLY the same maneuver in opposition!…both trolleys performing the perfect pas de deux  whilst the owners exchanged places and then continuing the movement, like two rock’n’rollers performing a jitterbug routine, we spun and double switched back so avoiding an earthquake of a collision and continued on our way with a passing high-five as salute.

An amazing maneuver that has to go down as an essential in the “Shopping-trolley collision prevention handbook”…But in my book , I will always refer to it as : “The dance of the seventh aisles”.

Until next time, this is your shopping correspondent singing off.

Down the Aisle.

Your shopping correspondent’s report .

With Ambrose Quint.

#5.

Happy specials, shoppers!

Yes, with the holidays now over, this week your shopping correspondent reports from the Central Market.. I first secured my spot on “The Pensioners Seat” there opposite “Goodies and Grains” and patiently watched ‘the passing parade’..I have to report that the shelves of bread and pizza bases over the aisle there are a wonder to behold. No longer are we, the shopping public, limited to dull, boring  Lebanese flat bread , now there is “mountain bread” made, no doubt for those more hardy eaters of the staple diet than the rest of us…there are “wraps” of many different grains and condiments, there are breads of so many different grains, I am not at all surprised at the “organic five grains” or the ‘wild grains” or the “spelt and barley combos”…some of which could see one getting done for GBH. If they swung it at the head of a victim!..What has happened to the old Tip-Top Tank –loaf, I ask?

Anyway I have to say that the old maxim so drummed into our generation by those sartorial watchdogs of our parents generation ; “Blue and Green should never be seen” has gone by the wayside..out the window even, for I saw such harlequin mix of colour and fabric would make a Ringling Bros’ Circus clown seem dullsville in comparison…and such fit of clothing …There were those body shapes that should not wear such tights so that it was a shocker…and enough to make a pensioner blush…there was more movement there than a whole battalion of infantry on manoeuvres!…and some that deserve a tad more discretion in their choice of shoes..

Tiling is a dead give away for poor stature and poise in the walk. You have the heavy “clumping” of the sloth-footed to the rappata-tap-tap-tap!..of the hard-soled / high-heeled lithe of step…Asian ladies have perfected the “slapping sandal” movement to perfection…I have on occasion practiced their style to try to emulate the rhythmic clap…it is difficult…and draws unwanted attention to oneself..a bit like a white guy trying to tap his foot to jazz..it just doesn’t go..there must be that “natural sense of rythym” ( 🙂 ).

Thankfully, fast fading away is the brutal look of the shaved head…replaced by the more stylish if pretentious “Hipster lick”..Now, the only blokes sticking to the style are the old guys going bald anyway and hoping nobody will notice if they shave the lot off…the “five-o’clock shadow” is a dead give away.

Anyway..been a busy day and now I gotta go do the horses..

This is your shopping correspondent signing off for another week (or two).

Down the Aisle.

Your shopping correspondent.

With Ambrose Quint.

#6.

Happy specials, shoppers!

I think we may all appreciate a little bit of cheering up…doncha think?

This shopping trolley I picked had a dud wheel. It had a flat-spot on the rear left hand wheel. I didn’t realise it was so bad until we had started to fill it with products..you know those shopping trolleys..you expect something to be wrong with them..after all, many of them suffer the most awful treatment..two or sometimes three little kids being pushed around the aisles by a long-suffering mother..or getting dumped in a ditch the other side of the car-park (the trolleys, NOT the kids!)..in a shallow water drain…generally treated like shit..sad..or else it’s got the wobbly wheel..I’ve had a few of those, you know..no matter how you try to control it, the trolley gets this wriggle, wobble, rattle and you look a goose as you wrestle with its runaway attempts..or at least you think you do..and that’s just as bad.

But I don’t know if you have noticed, but you rarely see women shoppers with a dud trolley..you hardly ever see it..I suppose that women, conscious as they are of being observed from a young age as they go about their everyday business, are just too savvy to let themselves get tricked into pushing a dud trolley..the image, the image..you know..

I tell you what is the saddest sight you’ll see down the aisles of the supermarket..; The recently divorced middle-aged male trying to do his shopping. He’s never done it regularly you see..or if at all, ..and he doesn’t know where things are or what’s the best buy..or even what he needs to buy..so he spends the first two weeks wandering up and down the aisles looking dazed and confused and to make it look legitimate as he finds his “shopping legs”, he’s got the first thing that represents a sense of security that springs to his recently divorced mind..; a packet of “Arnott’s Monte Carlo” cremes rolling about the otherwise empty trolley like a loose cannonade in a 17th century sailing battleship. I can assert these things because I have witnessed them..with blokes I have known personally.

But I had this trolley with the flat-spot on its rear left side wheel..I don’t know how it got there, probably got jammed some time and the person kept pushing it with the one jammed wheel over the bitumen car-park till the wheel got a flat spot..and now, with the good lady loading the blasted thing up, it was coming down heavy on that wheel at every revolution so that it made a distinct “dud” sound..and when I was called upon to make a swift manoeuvre. Like overtaking an aged pensioner..it would make accusative ; “dud-dud-dud-dud” sounds and I would feel the insult like it was directed straight at me..like the defect trolley was my fault..Women shoppers would lower their eyes and smile and I felt obliged to explain away the defect that really wasn’t my fault and curse the god of shopping trolleys..but THEY knew, and I do believe it gave them a comforting feeling to get one back on the “handy-man” of the species..a sort of self-satisfied ; “Mr. Mechanic- fix thyself”.

Every now and then, for some unexplainable reason, my good lady pauses at a display of this or that product shelf and peruses the ingredients label on a number of different brand but similar products. It never ceases to amaze me that women, some of the best known cynics of the species, will yet search out the lies and misinformation in an ingredients label and take what they read as the gospel truth! 

And talking of wobbly shopping trolleys, my cousin; Ron th’ brickie..when he purchased his brand new lime-green, HQ Holden, back in those days..made sure it wouldn’t get scratched by a carelessly handled shopping trolley at the supermarket by parking at the furtherest  place in the car-park…only to one day helplessly witness through the café window where he sat to have a coffee and admire his new “Kingswood” car..a reckless person, after emptying their trolley of food and products into the boot of their car, shove the trolley away carelessly into the vast emptiness of the car-park, where it ran to an almost stop, turn slightly to the downward slope and gathering speed with a wobbly wheel, steer a course as if under the control of cruel fate, directly toward the broad-side of a new, shiny, lime- green Holden HQ Kingswood motor car..and there was not a thing he could do to stop it..”It was like torture” he reflected wistfully..and he shut his eyes at the memory.

And this will be all for this series, faithful shoppers…so until next series and we hope it will be soon!…, this is your shopping correspondent, Ambrose Quint signing off.

South Australian History and the Germanic Pioneers.

On the Rim of a Far Horizon…

  We are all aware of that old maxim : “ Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it”..But are we here in Australia, particularly South Australia aware of just how close we stand to the sculptured pediment of ancient European history ?..I suspect not..so allow me a moment of condescension and … Continue reading

On one side the night so dark…

South Australia was founded on the philosophic ideas of a degenerate, financed by the money of an opportunist, bailed out by the taxpaying British public and eventually prospered on the money of speculating aspirants..What sort of government would eventually grow from such riff-raff? Ans: An LNP govt’. When it comes to choosing what type of … Continue reading

Homeland.

They rolled across the flatlands of the Murray River plains like an unstoppable force of nature..for surely that would best describe their tenacious persistence to forge a new Silesia..a new Posen a new homeland in this strange and distant place…a new life they saw as gifted to them from God that with their twisted version … Continue reading

Soil.

Earth, dirt, soil and all that it contains for a healthy environment to live and plant, feed and prosper. There was a time when ALL peoples had a healthy respect for that piece of land that they lived upon. A sacred respect, a worshiped thing of unknown quantity with a reliable certainty that the Earth … Continue reading

The passing of the amateur.

If I consult this little pencilled in book of a shopping bill from a Mr. D. Lambert & Son, general store and victuals supplier of Towitta, for the fortnight in February 1936, I see that a packet of Yo-Yo biscuits was a mere 7 pence, and while the entire shopping for that bill was a … Continue reading

Das Testament.

Any reading of the annals of human history, it’s achievements and failings, in both majestic endeavour or mean deception, will uncover the heroic alongside the cowardice of the spirit of humanity indelibly written into the texts and transcripts recorded in those annals..even an attempt to hide or disguise the facts of a moment of importance … Continue reading

Four Principle Elements of Life.

Earth, Air, Fire & Water…The humanist side of politics see them as spiritual elements that need to be respected even when being put to use…The corporate side of politics see them as an opportunity to capitalise upon for personal enrichment…and THERE is the left – right divide. But mother nature is a strange beast, caring … Continue reading

Slow cooking in a “Black Kitchen”.

You got to get up ..pri-tty erley in da mornin’..to stoke up the German vault oven in the old “black kitchen” if you want to get a good day’s preparation and cooking in before the roast lamb (w/rosemary) is just at an itch and a scratch to be taken out from the back of the … Continue reading

History on the back of a beer coaster.

Forget the links, the oft’ quoted academic tome .. forget the reams of verbose railing against this or that “Authentic History” .. ”Researched Paper” or PhD on the subject … I’ll give you a rock-solid run-down on the course of events in both South Aust’ history and the formation of the Liberal Party on what … Continue reading

Rosie’s Hut.

If you turn off the main road and travel around five furlongs .. in the old money .. down a dirt track called Kruger Road, you will come to Rosie’s Hut. I first heard of Rosie’s Hut around .. oh .. fifteen year or so ago now … when we first brought this place from … Continue reading

The Golden Triangle : Private wealth – Private education – Public authority.

  Two of the most prestigious private colleges in Adelaide were originally initated, set up and managed on the board of directors by one of the most egregious scoundrel land speculators of the early province. This man’s cunning and outright audacity in coercing and manipulating the price of broad-acre real estate essential to the farming … Continue reading

Their Cup Runneth Over…(with bullshit!).

Your Cup Runneth Over… So it is written… “ The 23rd Psalm may be the most beautiful of all chapters in the Bible because it gives an accurate description of the Great Shepherd’s protection, provisions, and praises towards his “flock”. David writes “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you … Continue reading

End.

Jack Mitchell.

Jack Mitchell shared the family home with his two sisters after the parents passed away..none of them ever married. Not that there were ever any suggestion of  dubious behaviour amongst them one way or the other, it’s just that they never married..though I was told by a person who knew him,years later that “Joking Jack” was a very lonely man.

Jack was full of jokes..he would drop one every few minutes in any conversation there in the front-bar of the Seacliff Hotel..He was never stuck for a word either..He used to work as a buyer for one of the biggest department stores in the city..:

“I just started as a youngster there with socks and stockings in lingerie and worked my way up!”..was his usual gag if any one asked about his employment. He was always snappily dressed in smart suit and tie, no matter what the night…which was nearly every night at the hotel. Whenever Jack told a joke, you could see he was dying to laugh at his own joke..this would be bad form, so he pinched his lips together as tight as he could..but that was rarely enough and a slight splutter and a bit of foamy spittle would cover his lips after.

One month, Jack, with a couple of other older blokes from the hotel, took a trip to Bangkok. Now, the only reason many men went to Bangkok in those days was for sex..sex in any shape or form..Bangkok was notorious for it..so when Jack returned to the front bar after the “holiday’ a couple of younger men there started to take the piss..:

“Jack!” one called out across the other side of the U-shaped bar. “Tell us Jack..; How was the hol-i-day in BANG-KOK!?”..and then followed a spot of laughter..

‘Well boys” Jack began after sipping the foam off the top of his beer “ Well, boys..you know there’s an old saying that if a balding man..much like myself..was to rub his pate against that most tender and private part of a young lady..then his hair would grow back..”..and here Jack took a slow draught of his beer, wiped his lips with the back of his hand and with wide-eyed surprise announced in a loud voice to the lads: “Well it’s a lie!!”

This admission brought laughter all ‘round.

But Jack was always a conservative voter and a “boss’s man”..he could be seen on some occasions in deep conference with the manager of the hotel, looking about with suspicious eyes…we believed he was the management’s watching eyes to detect and report on the young dope users and sellers in the hotel..we never trusted him..

He has passed away many years now, and according to the one young man who did have his confidence, Jack Mitchell was a very lonely man .

Decum Fabulum.

English, Italian, Latin..in whatever language stories have come down to us as a delightful medium to offset worry or boredom … In the time of The Plague in Italy, Giovanni Boccaccio wrote of the stories told by just such a group as they while away the hours in isolation from the Black Plague.
In keeping with this tradition, we offer you likewise some stories here.

The Rider to the Sea.

Ah, youth!…a time of plenty..so much to want, so much to desire, so much to love…yet one had the feeling of so much to lose..so much to lose..there was never enough of anything, least of all patience.. Adam reached out for the handful of peaches out far on the branch. He quickly picked these and … Continue reading

A Mother’s Right.

I see her even now so clearly..like a child sees his mother…like a son sees his mother for what was honoured what was loved and what was wanted…what was wanted and also what was lost…What tragedy is a mother?…can the loyalty of a legion of national heroes match her dedication and honour?…what an investment is … Continue reading

A Candid Conversation.

. . . And the afternoon sun illuminated the panorama with dazzling glare so that the sea, with its distant choppy water flashed a glitter reflected off the waves. There were trees out the front of the hotel over the road, big trees, shrubs and bushes, the tops of the tall trees hidden from view … Continue reading

A Visit from an Old Couple

A visit from an old couple. Geezus!..the old couple that came to the nursery workshop…I almost forgot…ah!.I was buggered after a lousy sleep the night before, what with all the lightning and thunder…I went straight to sleep after dinner last night.. I’ll tell you now. It went like this… This old couple..Now we get a … Continue reading

Albert Namatjira..: A Story in 3 Acts.

[ Warning : This story contains names of indigenous persons who have passed away ] Act One ; Scene #1. It is the 1950’s, Albert Namatjira applies for a grazing licence so as to try to take his people away from the influence and reliance of charity from the Lutheran mission for their living. Scene: … Continue reading

Letters from the dead.

“I was abandoned on the side of a hill as a baby”. I suppose I had a kind of reflective, forlorn sound or tone in my voice when I told Jacqui that, as she stopped doing what she was doing, let her hands drop to her side and sympathetically gazed at me… “Oh…that’s really sad..Were … Continue reading

The Story of Hannibal / Hannibal’s Tale.

This children’s story has it’s origin in two events. The first was in my wanderings as a much younger man trying my hand at opal mining…not so much mining, really as ; scratching around. In amongst those months of loneliness up in the desert, I had as a “pet” companion, a mouse that I caught … Continue reading

An Act of Contrition.

I am moving into my “Italian period” with these next few stories. I do like those extraordinary personalities and situations that mark the characteristic of the Italian short story..I don’t think you can find the depth of “commitment” to the random acts of delinquency or romance and indeed ; superstition from an Anglo-Saxon community..But I … Continue reading

The Arrogance of Power.

A Play.. This is a condensed part of a play that is centred around a well-worked story ; that of  “The Kelly Gang”..But the difference is displayed in the title..I hope to have delved a little at least into what I call ; “An Arrogance of Power”…It is political and social power sometimes held by … Continue reading

Epiphany.

[ I wrote this piece quite a few years ago. It was an attempt to both explain and understand that moment of decision in my late teens, in the later years of the 1960’s when the urge for revolution was so explosive in our Boomer generation. The thing is, while we were full of the … Continue reading

End of stories.