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Showing posts from August, 2020

High noon.

The intensity map radiates out from the population centres and fades and dies in the far reaches of the States where it meets the borders. Trouble here. The idiot-class State politicians that were elected to enact politically correct legislation are hopelessly out of their depth. Closing borders bang-shut is cutting the meagre populations and many families in two. Or even three. Bickering amongst themselves, the State fishwives (of both sexes, if you like) have managed to destroy communities. In reply to one case (and there are thousands) in which a family was twenty kilometres from a hospital - which was on the wrong side of the border - was told to fly to Sydney, quarantine for a fortnight and take it from there. 1600 kilometre round trip. The Queensland premier blithely added Queensland has its hospitals and so does New South Wales. A farmer received a kind suggestion from a bureaucrat to fly 45 tonnes of hay to Sydney and then truck it back to his paddock 45 kilometres over the b

Potato. Cheese. Onion. Heat.

I got it out of an old cookbook but the children said I'd already made it; just in a slightly different version. In any case you don't need a recipe for a dish containing potato, cheese and onion. The three ingredients are fellow travellers and kind of just collide. In the presence of heat, they know what to do, and turn alchemy-like into that clich├ęd term, comfort food, which means something you don't quite make it to a chair to start eating. The title was 'pan haggerty', but Wikipedia shows several different names for it. That proves the point: the recipe was never written down because it was so intuitively obvious. Pan Haggerty. Peel and cut two large potatoes into very thin slices. Do the same with two onions. Cook the onions in some oil in a pan until just softened. Lay some of the sliced potatoes into the bottom of an oiled baking dish and caress them with melted butter. I use a paint brush (that has never been used to paint - I bought one for the p

Girls of the Sixties.

Grade Three: she was only nineteen and just out of teachers' college. She introduced classic music and travel. Her name was Miss Burns. That year, Petula Clark started a massive run of smash hits and she and Miss Burns kind of merged. Later, there were others. Lulu smashed with To Sir With Love in 1967 but her apogee - if singers can have one of those - was the minor hit Oh Me Oh My, a soul-infused love song that never rose into the year's top 100 in '69. 1967 also saw Brit Sandie Shaw impossibly catchy with Puppet on a String - once heard never forgotten. Meanwhile, Morgana King's soul-fired coloratura went in a totally different gospel/soul direction and the Fifth Dimension were on fire. I was at a parish fete one warm October day in 1967. They used to play a radio station over the loudspeaker in between prize draws on the spinning wheel. A southern accent came out of the speaker and the story was some kind of personal disaster and the guitar in front had a weird

Cold moon rising.

8 p.m. A midwinter full moon rises over my poplar-ended street as the city falls silent.

They came out of the pipes.

I got through the checkpoint without being challenged, and proceeded into the territories that were my ancestral lands, and made my way through distantly familiar streets to the house in which I grew up in bucolic 1960s then-outer-suburban Melbourne, high on the hill overlooking the Maribyrnong valley. I found her snoozing in front of the television, which was shouting at full volume about some political issue. I turned it down slightly and went through to the kitchen where a small mountain of plates and pots and plastic meals-on-wheels containers rose up next to the sink. I made a start on the mountain but didn't get far because the sink wasn't draining. I put the brush down and wandered through the vastness of the house into an old dusty abandoned bedroom full of memories and linoleum. I opened a wardrobe and shoved several hundred 1960s ladies coats along the railing until I found an unused wire coat hanger. Returning to the kitchen, I unwound the coat hanger at the part w

A Shorter History of the Local Pandemic.

30 January 1919: The (Essendon) Health Officer, Dr. Flanagan, was informed of an outbreak of the deadly Pneumonic Influenza and immediate action was taken to prevent its spread. An inoculation program was commenced with 150 citizens presenting themselves for inoculation. Theatres were closed locally, and restrictions on Defence Department drills and church gatherings were being considered. Householders were advised to throw open their windows. The Mayor, Cr. Arthur Fenton, amid accusations of over-reaction, took full responsibility for actions taken as 11 mild cases were reported. 10 February 1919: The Essendon Gazette reported that local doctors were inoculating as many as 800 people a day against the disease; that many citizens were wearing masks; that large public gatherings were prohibited and church services were being cancelled, or attended in small numbers. The Public Library was closed, and schools would not open until further notice. Essendon High School was being converte