I was out walking with my father one day when I was about five years old, and I saw a shop that had a sign outside which said coin laundry. I asked my father if they washed money in there, and he said yes.
We lived near two racecourses, Moonee Valley and Flemington. There were always large trucks ferrying horses in and out. Some the trucks bore the words Caution Horses. I asked my father what caution horses were. He told me they were a special breed of horse that was never flustered and helped calm the more high-spirited racehorses before races.
Then there were churches. They all had their own sign. Anglican Church, Methodist Church, Presbyterian Church, Catholic Church, Baptist Church. One day I saw a sign near a church on a particularly busy road. It said Silence Church.
I asked my father. He told me the people who went to the church were never allowed to speak. Ever. I had a horror of that building, a drab grey timber construction in Epsom Road Ascot Vale housing sad mute people while outside, normal people carried on their lives laughing and talking.