Monday 30 July 2012

Kleptomaniac Dog

No, Dog, you might think you’re cute
But you have besmirched my repute.
You pissed off the neighbours
With your bad behaviours
And now you have stolen a boot!


Steal a look at what others have made of Tess's prompt at Magpie Tales.

Tuesday 24 July 2012


Driving to my youngest’s house, just south of Wollongong, pronounced ‘woollen-gong’, handicapped by a scribbled map and desperate for a landmark, I stopped at traffic lights, scanned my surroundings, and there it was, right at the intersection. Big, bold and backlit: FIGGY BOWLO! I stared and muttered WTF while I wondered until the driver behind lost patience and tooted.

I drove on, now totally absorbed with the question and it took a while. But it shouldn’t have. When Mum died, I inherited the title of Family Cryptic Crossword and Scrabble Champ so, after trawling through all that experience, it finally came. Here it is. Figtree is a southern suburb of Wollongong and a Bowlo is a bowling club.

 I once worked in a band with Warren Daly. Warren was called Wozza. My mate Greg’s sister is Caroline, called Cazza. Gary the gardener is Gazza. People who live in public housing are called Housos and I once played football and called it Footy.

 So, translated for all but those who live within the five kilometre radius, within which, by law, all visitors must be members, FIGGY BOWLO directs one to the Figtree Bowling Club. But you knew that!

I'm off now, to kick back at the Figgy Bowlo and knock back a few with Gazza, Cazza and Wozza.

Monday 16 July 2012

Off the grog...I mean, blog.

I will be off the blog for a short time, will report in and catch up when I am in range again. Enjoy the silence.

Wednesday 11 July 2012

Leaving. Excitement tinged with fear.

Leaving Sailors Bay, a slice of nature in the heart of Sydney in a few hours and sad to leave.

IXL has wangled a free week at Akuna Bay in gorgeous Coal and Candle Creek on our way to Newcastle.

Tuesday 10 July 2012

A Poem for Wally

A poem written for Wally by his mother, Ella Turnbull in 1932
 My Son.
When my heart was dark and empty
And my courage was undone;
When Life’s grand promise, bountiful
Seemed forever to be gone
    God sent my son-
Infant hands, so sweet, so fragile,
Like the blossom in the spring;
But so potent was their message
To my heart, it could not sing
For my son filled all with light
   In victory won.

Then my way no more was darkened,
For my son filled all with light;
Little fingers, pointing, showed me
Jewels crowning every height
   Like stars in Heav’n.
Will he also look for beauty?
Will his heart be true and fine?
Gallant pressing ever upward,
Will he trace the truths sublime,
   That God has giv’n?

Brighter than a radiant morning,
Child, your image in my heart;
Grant that never shame shall touch it;
That your life may be apart
    From Sorrow dire;
May all loveliness enfold you,
And the truth be e’re your goal;
May you ever cherish beauty-
Keep it burning in your soul
    Like living fire.

Where's Wally.

Last weekend we buried my closest cousin, Walter Turnbull Jones who was a few weeks off 80.

At the funeral service, a few of us talked about how he effected our lives, and as his closest, I had the most stories, all good memories. In one story I mentioned that Wally had taken me to see my first movie at about 8. At the State Theatre in those days, an organist entertained before the start and a jazz orchestra played a 20 minute spot at interval. That experience opened my mind to live music and a glimmer of what I might do with my life.

 I finished that story by telling the congregation that, as a child raised in an Exclusive Brethren household where radios and record players were not allowed, just about the only music I heard were hymns. If he had known, my father would have been horrified. Even fifteen years later when I had established myself as a professional musician, he would wait up for me to come home from gigs and berate me for playing the ‘Devil’s music’. I never really understood why they were all so frightened of music.

That questioning of doctrine led to other questionings, so I guess that was the start of my escape into the world of Reason. Maybe I would have made it on my own, but I thank Wally for opening the door and his mother for teaching him to be independent. Paradoxically, he became more and more devout as he aged, with a child like faith that I never tried to shake. Dogma and ritual made him as happy as it had made me sad.

 Wally was born 'a snag short of a barbie', but his firecracker of a mother, after giving him every chance to reach his potential and finally realising he did not inherit her amazing intellect, set about setting up his financial future and she did it well. But it was the service itself that I want to talk about today.

The old stone St Peter’s at Mt Victoria was packed with family and friends to see him off. The regular Minister came back from holidays for Wally, and some travelled from overseas to be there. He was very short at barely five feet tall, never married and never had a partner. He was incapable of much more conversation than your average ten year old, so what was it that drew them to him? As their stories unfolded, it became clear. He was a connector.

Wally would call every one of his cousins out along the family tree to about three degrees at least once a week to pass on a snippet of information, typically a one-sentence announcement such as: “Who had a new granddaughter yesterday?” He was just quirky enough to leave it as a riddle and start the rest of us phoning around for the answer. He was invited to everything going and seemed to be always there, always smiling and always pleasant.

He was welcomed into at least twenty homes any time he wanted to visit, and was loved by all of us. I was holding his hand as he drew his last breath and I know what it means when they say ‘he/she died peacefully in his/her sleep. He did. RIP Wally.

 Of the three hundred or more there that day, I would guess over half were regular churchgoers, and maybe they all believed in the ‘resurrection of the body and the life everlasting’, and maybe they found solace in the idea that his death was not the end. I respected that by not telling all of them I am a card carrying Atheist. They are good people and they loved Wally. In that context and to me, that was all that mattered.

Support for the bereaved is one of the three positives I think religions offer, apart from magnificent architecture and wonderful music. Next time I might share the other two.

Monday 9 July 2012

Cacky Handed Magpie

The playwright’s eye
Sees how it’s done,
The artist merely looks.

 The horse and dray
 Are neatly drawn
The hay arranged in stooks.

 So, take yourself,
The three pronged fork,
And try to throw the hay.

 If you don’t wish
 To hurt yourself,
 You’ll face the other way!


If you are wondering what this is saying, let me explain. To me, the man looked awkward in that tranquil setting and I wondered why. Then it came to me. The haygatherer has the stance of a left handed person, but is right handed! (try it).
Right handed people throw over the left shoulder and the higher the load, the more necessary that becomes. (been there, done that and as some know, most of my 'life's work' is in the form of plays, musical and straight).
I apologise for being so picky, when the painting is such a beautiful depiction of that part of Martha's Vineyard, as it might have looked early last century before the mansions and ride-on lawn mowers arrived. 

Less analytical and more poetic takes on Tess's art collection can be found at Magpie Tales.

Monday 2 July 2012

Ophelia and Mark.

A winner, a night 
a need to rejoice
In through the door, 
enticed by her voice.

He, innocent asked;
‘Can I kiss you Ophelia?’
She took off her robe.
“Your money, your choice!”
To lovers or art; 'I apologise'. 
To old comedians; 'You said it first!' 
To those who are offended by naughty rhymes; 'Stiff!'
G rated contributions can he viewed by the kiddies at Magpie Tales.