Friday 30 July 2010

Lines of defence.

Scarred by keys
failing forced entry.
It still stands
the sentinel.
Guarding my heart.

Prompted by Magpie tales.

Thursday 29 July 2010

Webster Pack

This post was prompted by Rel's Magpie 24 and the poem written while nursing my mum who just wanted it all to end but was afraid of the pain.
Anyone handling multiple doses of multiple drugs is thankful for Webster-pak. It simplifies and reduces errors. So this poem is not directed at that brand but at the philosophy of preserving 'life at all costs'.

But having said that, it is worth noting the following quote from the Webster-pak website: "With the introduction of the Webster-pak, many pharmacies have achieved growth. One New South Wales pharmacy went from a couple to 40 Webster-pak patients in no time at all."

Webster Pack.

Efficient drug dispenser.
Every measured dose,
fail-safe organised.
No hope of fatal error.

We are so clever,
post graduate researchers.
Personal relevance measured
by product on a shelf.

Medical economy,
what are you selling?
Efficient, no side effect,
gold plated immortality?

So, are you in profit, Webster Pack?
Your compensation for holding
so many flickering, painful lives,
teetering expensively on the edge of death.

Stafford Ray, July 2007.

Tuesday 27 July 2010

Paul Gauguin meats Mr Bean (sic).

Sure I learned French for three years and actually passed my junior high exams. In those days there was no oral test, so my accent must have been atrocious. But if I am anything I am adventurous, so aboard the Paul Gauguin in December 1999, where crew members were French, practice time came again, the first since 1972. (see ‘Parlay Voo Fronsay’, posted May 11, 2010)

For such a small ship, MV Paul Gauguin offered a wonderful choice of cuisine, with three restaurants, one exclusively French, so that is where we ate. Entertainer Ian Cooper, violinist enfant terrible and his barrister wife Kellie were funny and sophisticated dinner companions to myself, the irascible Milton ‘garden gnome’ Saunders and Monsieur Laurie Bennett who, for the duration of the Millennium Cruise around the islands of Tahiti, insisted he was French and pronounced his name ‘Bennay’.

So our evening meals were long drawn out affairs with repartee and laughter, lubricated with oodles of free Coonawarra Cabernet. (We drank the entire stock of Coonawarra over the almost three weeks of the cruise, the purpose of which was to be right on the International Date Line at midnight December 31 so we were the ‘first to enter the new millennium’). For that dubious privilege, almost three hundred Americans shelled out a reported fifty thou a berth, mais apres tout, we were there all expenses paid and were denied nothing in return for playing a few leisurely two hour shows! (We were worth every penny!)

However, as is not unusual, I made a goose of myself. I had decided early on to go through the menu from top to bottom and try every dish. I have eaten kangaroo, crocodile, emu, rabbit, wild duck, witchetty grub and in Timor I once ordered Kambing, but swear I was served Anging. It tasted a bit strong as expected and was defintiely preferrable to witchetties, but I say it was probably dog on the (admittedly circumstantial) evidence of one observation.

Awoken at 4am by a scratchy tape of a mullah calling his flock to morning prayers while he snored on, I dressed and walked outside the Soe, (pronounced so-eh) Hotel. There in the gloom was a kitchen wallah carrying a carcase. I asked him what it was and he answered ‘anging’. Dogs are to Timor what cows are to India, except there is nothing sacred about the yellow curs harvested from town dumps. But I digress.

Towards the end of our Tahiti adventure, the highlight of which was a three day festival of song and dance on a mountain peak amphitheatre, where young men and women display their bodies and skills in a colourful, noisy and anarchic traditional ritual, during which mates are chosen and marriages organised, I was nearing the end of my menu cracking odyssey. There remained only one untried dish, so I gave the pronunciation my best shot and ordered. I did note Kellie’s raised eyebrow and in retrospect should have realised I had gone too far when the waiter, a cheeky Gallic charmer, laughed as he recorded my naivet√© in his order book, no doubt adding in his mirth-effected scrawl; ‘Australien idiot’.

Anyone who saw Mr Bean take himself to a posh restaurant for his pathetic birthday 'bash' will know what is coming but in my hubris, although I did see that episode, I missed the connection as did everyone except le smartarse garcon. Later, during confession, Kellie said she had admired my savoir faire as, in my improving accent, I ordered 'Boef √† l'Americaine'. When the dish arrived Milton went close to throwing up and Laurie had to leave for a ‘breath of fresh air’ but I was stuck with no option but reluctant heroism.

Eventually the bottom of the dish revealed no clown face or printed ‘gotcha!’ But the real joker, the head waiter appeared by my side and smugly offered seconds.
I had succeeded in eating the disgusting mess by applying immaculate self control and kept it down with dogged determination, but like any sane mountain climber, one Everest is enough and I declined politely, while coming ever so close to advising him to ‘fuck off, you supercilious bastard!’

Mr Bean was able to secrete his ignorance in sugar bowls, vases, ash trays, under place mats and even managed to deposit some in the purse of an adjacent diner, but with cheating impossible under the unwavering surveillance of our eagle eyed barrister, I ate every last morsel of what an English menu would have listed as ‘Steak Tartare’. Minced steak with raw egg and diced onion, served raw and running with blood!

Monday 26 July 2010

Where have I heard that before!

These two excerpts are from my (unpublished) first novel "Cull" written in 2006. The first is reproduced here mainly for my Australians friends as we go into an election with Climate Change as an issue. The setting is a meeting of the US Administration, but the tactic is universal. It was used by the Blair government in the UK that produced the Frost Report and by the Howard government here that produced the Garnaut Report and is being used yet again by Prime Minister Gillard. Sara Phillips of the Age (July 23) wrote: 'Gillard's announcement of a "citizen's assembly" to spend 12 months pondering whether consensus has been reached has been met with incredulity by the public'. Of course she is right, but it will deliver what Gillard wants. She will avoid much of the opportunistic negativism that is currently driving Australian politics.
President Mason Tanner is speaking.

“If we suddenly declare a new direction we’ll be crucified by our own party.”
“Right!”, interjection from Arino, ignored by Tanner.
“But if we initiate an inquiry by an expert panel and let them indicate the new direction, that may provide enough distance for us to avoid serious backlash. They can deliver the bad news, not us. We can be seen to be listening, but they’ll be the target for public anger.
“The experts we choose will need to be high profile and have public support already, so we can draw that support to ourselves. We would need to appoint six or seven to cover the problem areas. That may be the way to go.”

Excerpt two was prompted by a policy on refugees, stated recently by the Current leader of the Auistralian opposition, who proposes 'turning back the boats'. This quote is part of a private conversation between the fictitious Conservative Australian prime minister Charles Mulaney and his defence minister, Brett Woolley. Money from a foreign source has financed the purchase of a fleet of fishing boats to save thousands of Asian families, starving on their failing Mekong Delta farms. They are heading for Australia. So many boats have been detected that Mulaney wants them repelled by force.

“OK,” agreed Woolley. “But have you considered the fallout? On the election. Have you thought about that?”
“Trust me. You just do your bit and save us from the hordes. I’ll save us from ourselves.”
“I need to know the down side, that’s all,” he said. “I mean, if I’m going to stick my dick in the mincer, I’d like to know it was worth it. At least I’d like to think the party’ll be re-elected.”
“OK.” He smiled mirthlessly. “I’ll call an election on this. The deadly force option will work for us. You know the Howard Doctrine: ‘We’ll decide who comes and under what circumstances’. It worked then and it’ll work now.”
“I don’t know,” Woolley warned. “A lot has changed since then.”
“No, it’ll work,” he assured him. “Bring out the bogey men and everyone runs to Daddy.” He laughed briefly at his own wit, then returned his gaze to Woolley.
“But we hold off for three weeks to a month before we start shooting, even if we’re justified. We need time to get some fear going in the electorate…”
“But, PM,” he interrupted. “According to this report from Jakarta, there are over five hundred boats on the way as we speak. At least sixty to a hundred boats will arrive within a week and another two hundred the week after that and God knows how many more to follow. It’s urgent we act now.”
“Oh, I’ll act now all right!” he smiled. “I’ll see the Governor General this morning and set up the election a month from next Saturday.”
He stood and walked to the wall calendar. After a few seconds’ consideration he pointed to a date.
“God loves me,” he intoned. “A week after footie Grand Final. No time for the punters to think too much about the issues.” He rubbed his hands together “Yes! That gives you two weeks to get those planes over and the service chiefs up to speed. Then…”
“But, PM,” Woolley interrupted. “There could be twenty five thousand people arriving within two weeks! Didn’t you hear me?”
“Oh, I heard you all right,’ he answered. “There’ll be thousands of aliens running around suburbia scaring the shit out of Mr and Mrs Oz.”
“Is that wise? We may never find them.”
“Wise?! It’s brilliant,” he laughed. “The press’ll be howling for blood. We tell ‘em the opposition and the Greens are wimps, stopping us in the Senate. We shaft them both at the same time. We just let ‘em think there are hundreds of thousands of rapists and terrorists on the way and bingo! We win.”
“These people aren’t rapists or bloody terrorists,” objected Woolley. “They’re just poor starving families displaced by climate change. They aren’t….”
“Who says they aren’t?” he demanded. “Who cares if they aren’t? Don’t you be the bloody fool that says they aren’t! We say nothing and our wonderful Australian people, our give-‘em-a-fair-go-Australian-values people will feel threatened and that’s what we want... .”


Friday 23 July 2010

Magic moments reclaimed in a Magpie

I hope this heart felt poem about a real event is worth a second outing as a Magpie Magic. That tour with the Japanese cabaret show 'Tokyo by Night' in about 1971 produced drama, farce, (see Samurai in Cooma, posted June 2010) a lot of fun, much effort spent by both the Japanese performers and Australian musicians learning about each other and a few very tender moments.

Echko Namazawa

Stage doll of Nipon
Dancing through my
Nights of magic.

Body of grace and
Exquisite face were
Beyond lust.

But while I slept,
She came once unbidden
To my room.

Waking to soft hands,
I should have, but could not
Send her away.

Mooloolaba 2010.

Thursday 22 July 2010

No, my face is sunburnt is all!

Peter Young is an exceptionally personable young man who sold advertising for Channel 3 Newcastle but also played drums. It was in his drumming persona that he managed to embarrass himself and give me a gift of pride and a paroxysm of laughter that multiplied his discomfort.

(This is a view of Shoal Bay near the gig we shared at Nelson Bay RSL Club, and the lower picture is of wildlife one encounters regularly wandering the beaches.)

However, our audience that day was the usual mix of retirees, old couples huddled together over their one beer of the day, a few elderly singles filling in a boring afternoon and unusually, one young couple. The man was darkly handsome with brown-grey skin that glowingly covered his muscular body. But for all his beauty, he was eclipsed by his companion.

Some girls are blessed with lucky genes and she had them all. Tall, with all her bits in the right places and of excruciatingly attractive proportions, she was dressed to leave nothing to the imagination except her phone number. I missed their entry, being engrossed in the dots and lines of a difficult bass part but Peter's eyes followed them all the way as he mumbled ‘Wow! Holy Zildjian!' and such.

Drummers have a reputation as connoisseurs of physical beauty. Actually, they are no less inhibited than the rest of us, but they do have opportunity. Drum charts contain such directions as ‘play sim 20 bars’. This gives them twenty bars to appreciate whatever else is there to be seen. So, despite his natural decency and shyness, Peter could not contain himself and had to share.

We had reached the end of the set when he jabbed me in the ribs with a drum stick and in an excited stage whisper directed my attention to the subject of his unabashed appreciation.

I looked to where he was pointing to see a spectacularly beautiful woman stand and walk away from her companion. Very short shorts and halter top were in artistic contrast to her lightly tanned and flawless skin, glowing blonde hair and dazzling smile competing with glistening hazel eyes as she swung towards us.

‘Get a look at that!’ he growled again when she approached to stand so close he could have touched her.

But it was me she was looking at and I felt Peter’s disappointment as she blessed me with her husky greeting. I stepped from the stage to take her proffered hands and gently kissed her smiling face.

‘Hello gorgeous!’ I laughed, with a glance at Peter. ‘What a surprise!’
‘Hi dad,’ she answered, correctly assessing the situation and throwing Peter a consolation flash as he turned to slink away, face red and head bowed.
‘Thought we’d surprise you.’

I called him back.
‘Come here Dopey,’ I laughed. ‘Come and meet my daughter Jessica!’
He did and she kissed his cheek too.

Spectacular Queenslander for Auction.

A bad time to sell was the advice, but IXL decided to auction anyway. Her feeling is that time is running out, with her health impacted by stress and our desire to live closer to our combined families of eight children and fourteen grandchildren, all concentrated around Sydney, almost a thousand kilometres south.

Her spectacular Mudjimba beach house is a few steps from patrolled Mudjimba beachb and just a few minutes from Sunshine Coast Airport. Tucked in between flight paths. it enjoys the convenience but escapes significant noise.

It is an easy care home of four bedrooms and for bathrooms built to last from beautiful Australian hardwood with a one-space spectacular living area that can be arranged for any entertainment or family need. Unfortunately for her, it will probably sell for half a million below its replacement value but she can't wait and her loss will be somebody’s gain as the market recovers.

Mid day, 31st July is crunch time and I will be there to hold her hand to support her as she passes on her dream home and lifestyle to some lucky family who will never regret the move.

31st July, 12 mid day, 4 Pavilion Court Mudjimba.

Tuesday 20 July 2010


Helen (bless you) went right back to my first blog (Carer Blues One). She commented that she, like me, wrote to stay sane while caring for her dying mother. After almost two years of 24/7, my sister Jen and I eventually agreed to hand over day to day care to a nursing home where we could visit Mum every day.
A severe stroke should have killed her but didn't, leaving her physically helpless but mentally bright with memory and even her wicked sense of humour intact. Loss of speech was the worst, preventing her from communicating except by way of a printed alphabet, which she could race over (using her one good finger) so fast she needed an interpreter.

Her nightmare began because a report that detailed Mum's disabilities and abilities was not read by the staff. So through the first day and night, they spoke to her and treated her as as if she were an incontinent mentally retarded two-year old. When I arrived next day to challenge Mum, the Eden (home town) Scrabble champ to a war of wits, she was crying. She explained what was happening so I made an appointment to see the CEO for next morning and in the meantime wrote this poem which I e-mailed to her so she could read it before our meeting.

Sometimes poetry can express so much more. So to Helen and other carers, here is what I believe is my best poem ever. The picture, taken just now from the starboard bow of my 'floating flat', prompted me to share this poem with you at this time.

Old People’s Home.

She sits and she stares
at the door to her world
from which she came,
to this allotted space.

Beautiful mind, cruelly spared.
Taunted though empty days
and long, long, grieving nights,
by mem’ry of lost relevance.

Craving assurance;
a human embrace,
while latex plastic hands
touch only from necessity.

This little time, a miser’s gift.
Last chance to ease her passing,
with what will not be given;
The Final Validation of her existence.

Eden NSW 2007

Monday 19 July 2010

In the lifetime of a tooth.

Growing new, erupting gums,
Invention, mass production comes.
Baby teeth, come loose then fall,
Oil and coal, great fortunes call.

Playing children, careless brushing,
Manufacture, progress rushing.
Fluoride, flossing? Do that later.
CFC’s? why? Does it matter?

Caries, bone loss, gum disease?
Species loss and falling trees.
Change the diet, brush with vigour.
Natures’ gaps becoming bigger.

Root nerves out, replace with filling.
Deep sea wells, expand the drilling.
Cap and polish, smiling pleasure.
Coal-seam gas, a temp’ry measure.

Abscess pain, remove the teeth
Valdez grinds on rocks beneath.
Plastic dentures, foreign things.
Deep sea wells leak oily rings.

Loss of taste, a life less rich.
Smothered wetlands, ‘just a hitch’.
False teeth moving unintended.
Regulations, laws extended.

Dentures soak, regress in dreams.
Spud new gushers, virgin seams.
Tired and old, a dying flame.
Spills and spoiling, who to blame?

A man gives up, eternal rest.
But what of we, the people left?
We will quibble over cost,
Procrastinate ‘til all is lost!

Friday 16 July 2010

Julia, my hero.

Air, fire, wa-ter,
Earth, my daughter
Grounded, loving, cool.

Female wisdom-
Her genetic pool.

Prompted by Magpie Tales

Thursday 15 July 2010

B-ling b-ling b-ling!

Reading madambutterfly’s blog, in which she shares her struggle to come to terms with the death of her Sean, as she decides what to do with his ashes, I was reminded of this true story.


Shirley and Maurice took his father’s ashes home for safekeeping while the distressed widow decided what she wanted to do with them. A ship’s captain, whose old charts I still use today, he guided passengers and cargo up and down the east coast of Australia. Each time I plot a course, I am reminded of the old seafarer and salute his memory.

They were aware he would have ‘liked to be buried at sea’ but she would not decide, so he sat on his son’s mantelpiece, a constant reminder of unfinished business. After many years and no decision from the widow, they decided to give the old boy his wish and with a few heartfelt words, tipped him into calm waters near their harbourside home. Luckily they kept the urn because within days, she rang.

‘I’ve decided about the ashes!’
‘Shit!’, then covering the mouthpiece. ‘Shirl! Mum wants the ashes!’
‘Yes, of course I’ve got it!’, he assured her, covering the mouthpiece again. ‘Shirley! This is serious, get back here and talk to mum. Shit, Shirley. Stop laughing for crissake!’
‘No Mum, Shirley is not laughing, she’s choking to death. Gotta go. Call you back. Love ya! Bye!’

The phone rang again immediately but neither was capable of answering it as they rolled around helplessly on the lounge, choked and teary with hysterical laughter. When they were out of air and tears they looked at each other and he finally asked: ‘What’ll we do?’ That set them off again but eventually the question needed to be answered.

Maurice is a Vietnam veteran, so he has seen a bit, and Shirley is the survivor of some ‘serious shit’ so the solution came almost naturally. It was winter and the answer was right there in the open fireplace. Piles of ashes, a week’s worth of old wooden shipping pallets burnt down to a smooth grey powder flecked with charcoal.

‘It doesn’t look right, Maurice,’ said Shirley. ‘Dad’s ashes had white bits.’ Silence. Maurice left and returned with the lid of an old polystyrene box which he proceeded to crush into appropriate sizes. Mixed into ashes in the grate, it looked good, so they took the kitchen shovel and filled the urn to a convincing level and appearance.

Next day in Sydney, they stood together above rocks she had chosen for her long considered and solemn ceremony. Low Pacific swells surged in and out as she prayed quietly and spoke his name, committing his body to the sea he had loved so well and long.
Her eyes filled as her man poured from the urn, sliding over dark rocks into the water.

Shirley and Maurice gasped as they watched white flecks of polystyrene float up and bob about jauntily mocking them, but were ready to throw themselves in when nails from old pallets rattled, b-ling b-ling b-ling, bouncing from rock to rock until they plopped and disappeared through green tendrils of kelp.

By the time Mum’s eyes opened to see what caused ashes to b-ling b-ling b-ling, there was nothing to be seen except a few bits of plastic not yet washed ashore. Shirley turned away. There was no way she could control herself. But Maurice was the rabbit in the headlamps. He looked in vain to Shirley for support as she tottered off, shoulders shaking, then faced his mother, his big bearded face composed and head nodding. As if letting go of a long held burden he whispered;

‘War wounds.’
‘Dunno. Maybe, he never said.’
And so they stood, contemplating a good man whose final secret sank, not with his passing, but with burnt timber and old nails, to the bottom of the sea he loved.

Tuesday 13 July 2010

Love in Con-text.

G Baby, won’t U
Please B mine
U suit me 2 a T.

Your gr8 big I’s
R just 2 gorgeous,
Far 2 much 4 me.

Let me B
The 1 4 U
My love 4 U is real!

Take my Q
And C that U
R loved 4 evermore.

(I) know Y U R
Like U R
4 I can understand

You’re not a Mrs
Or a Miss,
A mistress or a Ms,

(4) I C U R
Just like me;
Another SMS!

Inspired by Brian Miller's 160 - in/dependence

Friday 9 July 2010

Orgasmic tomato.

Seductive red, pink, yellow, puce,
Take my body, shake me loose.
Hold me, love me,
Stroke me, kiss me.
Bite me, bite me, taste my juice.

Inspired by Magpie Tales.

Thursday 8 July 2010

More Joy. (continued).

Jim McBeath’s impeccable arithmetical instruction was soon forgotten. Not many weeks after Joy Mulligan had been told her speedometer reading must be divided by six and multiplied by ten to approximate kilometres per hour, she was pulled over.

As they do, the motorcycle cop parked his shining white BMW behind her car, withdrew his booking sheets from the pannier and took down her registration number. Meanwhile, Joy, consummate jazz singer and delightfully evil little bugger, was working up a reservoir of tears behind her big blue eyes.

By the time Constable Plod arrived beside her open window, she presented a picture of devastated innocence.
‘Do you know what speed you were doing, driver?’
‘Only ninety,’ she sobbed, indicating her old MPH speedometer.
‘I clocked you at a hundred and forty five!’
‘A hundred and forty five!’ she repeated, shocked. “No way this old car can do more than ninety!’
He looked more closely and the penny dropped.
‘Ninety miles, he corrected, that’s almost a hundred and fifty. Didn’t you know?’

With a good Catholic name like Mulligan she was probably OK with a Saturday night fib that could be confessed away on Sunday.

‘How silly!’ she cried. ‘Of course it is!’
Tears flowed as those big eyes pleaded for understanding.
‘Oh, I am so sorry, Officer! I had no idea!’

He softened.
‘All right,’ he sighed. ‘No more than sixty-five on that speedo. OK?’
She swallowed hard and smiled her best winner.
‘ Sixty-five,’ she repeated as if memorising a lesson. ‘Sixty-five. Right, got it. Thanks you officer!’
His hands left her window sill.
‘Take care.’ He advised as he turned back towards his bike.

She pushed the stick into reverse in her anxiety to get away and let out the clutch.
Back the car jumped, narrowly missing the retreating officer and knocking his machine off its stand, stopping with its bumper in contact with his newly scratched paint.

He reappeared to find her slumped in the seat with more tears running down her lying little cheeks.
‘Am I under arrest now?’ she cried as he stopped safely short of her door.

‘Madam!’ he shouted. ‘You are not under arrest. I never want to see you again!’ He then stepped forward and leaned into her window to spit his anger.
‘Get the hell out of here!’

Even before he had struggled his cycle to its wheels, she was a half kilometre along the highway, speeding ahead. She could hardly wait to tell the story.

Wednesday 7 July 2010

Colonoscopy three

Peter Cairns, organist, pianist, singer and entrepreneur, died four years ago from cancer of the colon, as they say, survived by his wife Suzanne and three infants, the youngest only two.

Pete was one of the toughest blokes I have ever met. His life story is one of overcoming adversity and of hard work. And in a way, it was his work ethic that killed him.

Always in a hurry, he could scoff a steak in less time than I could swallow a sprout. There was never enough time to fit everything in, but his professional preparation for gigs was always impeccable. He brought the whole box and dice and lumped it all in and set it up without help. Lighting and sound, incidental music tapes, bags of scores, one for each instrument covering every song in the repertoire and one special bag that looked like the others, but no matter which instrument you played, that bag was visited. In it was a selection of the best spirits money could buy, free with compliments from Pete, that saved us many dollars in visits to the bar!

But that was not all he did. He had a music store, repaired and hired pianos in the hundreds and in the last few years of his life started a corporate garbage disposal service, which he ran solo. He made money but he treated his body like the enemy. Pills were popped to keep going and he never complained about being sick or having too much to do. No time to be sick, he just kept on.

But the lump and what it was doing to his bowel could not be ignored. He finally deigned to take himself to a doctor who diagnosed bowel cancer and ordered him into hospital immediately. Typically, Pete said he was too busy now and could he ‘have it after Christmas’.

The doctor told him if he didn’t get it our right away he ‘wouldn’t see Christmas’ but it was all too late. They did what they could, took out the primary and many secondaries over two operations, extending his life by many months, but it spread to his lungs and eventually his brain.

Typically, he worked right up until his death, doubled over and in great pain, dulled enough by whatever Medicine could offer for his last performance to be as professional as any other.

But Pete was the mate who urged me to have my first colonoscopy. There in the hospital, with tubes going God knows where, clearly just hanging in, he was more concerned with my health than his own.

So, after visiting my GP yesterday for his verdict, I thought it important to pass on the results and urge you, despite having to drink ‘prep’ and sit on toilets every few minutes for a day or so, to get tested. If there are symptoms or even if you are merely worried, go do it.

Five polyps were removed, three pre-cancerous in this, my third colonoscopy. With ten polyps gone, I guess I am a veteran of ‘innuendo’. I have never had symptoms. So if it had not been for Pete, I would not be here either. Some people leave holes in our lives when they go but he left a crater.

Saturday 3 July 2010

Joy oh Joy! (Mulligan)

Her car was old, so old we were not surprised Joy Mulligan’s little Toyota got the blame when she always seemed to arrive late for the gig at Tuggerah Lakes Memorial. Not very late mind, just enough to cause me, the person responsible, to suffer palpitations as curtain time and her arrival seemed to happen together. For those who do not know Joy, she is a tiny (under 5ft) red headed bundle of scatty Jazz talent and one of my favourite people.

She did have a long way to come, over a hundred and fifty kilometres north from Sydney along the F3 where the speed limit was basically 110KPH, so speeds up to a hundred and twenty kept most drivers under the radar. But her constant complaint was that her old car could not get there.
‘Bloody stupid thing!’ she would rave. ‘Can’t get it over ninety!’

This went on for so long we eventually learned to relax as time ran out night after night until Jim McBeath, mate, veteran drummer and congenital smartarse, innocently asked:
‘Umm, Joy, what model Toyota is it?’
‘Sixty-five, why?’
‘I see, so what’s its top speed?’
‘Only ninety. Why?’
‘Of course, that’s what the signs say, dummy!’

Jim paused while he did the arithmetic.
‘Joy, old mate, your speedometer is in miles,’ he laughed. ‘You’ve been doing nearly a hundred and fifty!’
Her hand flew to her mouth.
‘Oh shit!’ she said as I looked at my watch. ‘Sorry guys.’
Just in case you missed it, she was not upset because she had been seriously speeding.
She was devastated her long time excuse had passed its use by date!

Friday 2 July 2010

Bang bang! You're alive!.


No longer innocent of terror,
And despite loss of trust,
Fake machine gun bursts
Bring laughter and joy.

Safe and joyful 4th of July!

Prompted by Magpie Tales

Thursday 1 July 2010


It all went well, polyps removed and assurances given along with the bill.
Luckily, despite numerous financial challenges, I have maintained medical insurance, so that was taken care of and I must say, my experience was as pleasant as it could be, made so by gentle and expert people in an unrushed and quiet private day clinic. Even the canula went in first time with no pain. So the following cheeky little jibe is about the bill, not the people. Well, I must say the doctor did look happily well fed.

Specialised medicine.

I love colonoscopies
And complex appendectomies!
With scalpel sharp
I work my art,
Commanding gen’rous fees! Boom! Boom!

This illustration was not included in the instruction sheet or I would have had to ask what was up there! I mean, if he could become President....
Note, filed under 'funny odds and ends'.

Pic from