I didn't do it. But if I did do it, it would have been heaps better.
In the final decade of the previous century, the editor and I purchased our first house in a gritty Industrial suburb. There was some serious industry in that suburb, including a fuel tank farm, a bikie club house, and occasionally the air used to reek from unidentified industrial smells from the nearby wool scour. On a hot day, with the wind blowing in the right direction, the air would be redolent with the warmly sour smells of lanolin, which dusted the insides of your mouth and nose. And because of all of the heavy industry, the trucks up and down the main roads were unrelenting at all hours of the night and day.
In those days, I worked at a transport company and one of the blokes there used to have a second job keeping the bar at nights and weekends at the local pub (which I didn't frequent). He used to joke to me that: "You don't pick someone else's fight at the (name withheld due to legal concerns) Hotel". Except, I was never really sure whether he was joking around or not. Because of the gritty location, my family refused to visit us, and friends always looked for an excuse not to visit.
But it was our first house, and so whatever, we were happy to be there. The area was even then ever so slowly gentrifying, and as they say - things were looking on the up! At some point the local traders decided to throw a local festival celebrating 'I don't really know'. Anyway, it was a good idea, and the local strip shops around the railway station also had an old Art Deco cinema which had been abandoned for many years, but was only recently (then) restored by someone who made money by repairing and manufacturing curtains for other cinemas. The owner of the cinema used to close off the street during the festival and hold an outdoor screening of a film for everyone in the area to enjoy free of charge. The street was jam packed with people and we really loved it.
The local post office, which also doubled as the local lotto outlet, had a window display of art by local artists for sale during the festival. The editor and I used to walk the dogs at night all around the suburb, and one of the paintings (The Blue Lady) caught our eye.
As an interesting side story, way back in those days you could walk around the suburb at night and not see another living soul. Well, except once for the creepy old drunk bloke who took a fancy to the old boss dog: "The Fat" and offered us two thousand dollars for her then and there. It was a strange incident, and we were frankly dubious about the offer, despite any goodwill which may or may not have been instilled by local festivals. We politely declined the generous offer.
Returning to the main story. The art work! Ah yes, we decided to purchase the art work and got in contact with the artist. The art work, which is a charcoal drawing, could not be released from the display until the festival had run its course, and so we arranged to meet the artist and both pay for and pick up The Blue Lady on a Saturday afternoon.
Alas, artists by their very nature are creative people and skip to their own beat and she was late. Accountant's are perhaps not so creative, and thus they were on time. So mid afternoon, the editor and I were found loitering in and around the post office waiting for the artist to turn up.
These were the days before the mobile phone and we ducked inside the post office to check whether the creative, but also tardy, artist had contacted the nice people at the post office to advise them about being late. Nope, there had been no such phone call.
And it was about that time that two blokes ran into the post office wearing balaclavas and shouting. As I was deep inside the post office at the time, I thought to myself that this was an unfortunate turn of events, and wondered what it all meant. The blokes stormed the counter and demanded the afternoons takings from the lotto business, which was duly handed over by the two surprised clerks working the counter.
The editor, who frankly is perhaps more alert and clearly has more self preservation skills than I, and more importantly was standing near to the front door at the time, ducked out of the front door and ran into a nearby cafe and got them to call the police. Near to me was a rather frightened looking lady with her child and during the incident, I unobtrusively moved closer to her to be helpful in case further trouble ensued. Getting out of the shop for us was not an option. And I had a pocket full of mad cash with which I was intending to pay for the art work...
With all of that going on, I happened to take a closer look at the two numpty's robbing the shop. One of them was holding what looked to me like an engineering hammer, whilst the other was holding a large screwdriver. Both of those weapons could do unpleasant personal damage, I guess. Then they left the shop as fast as they entered, fortunately neglecting to alleviate me of my mad cash. Maybe it was the adrenaline, but after they left, I gave the lady standing next to me a friendly tap on the arm and said: "That wasn't so bad, was it?" Not my finest words, but it summed the situation up nicely. Naturally we didn't become fast friends.
The police arrived really quickly as the station was very close, and the two blokes were caught getting into their getaway vehicle which was a VW Beetle (the old air cooled type - artistic but slow). All in all it was all a very strange day, and the local cafe put on free coffees for everyone involved in the hold up. From memory, the editor was quite jittery, but I suspect that was perhaps due to the three free coffees that she had consumed in short succession.
After we consumed heaps of coffee and assisted the detectives with their inquiries (a delightful turn of phrase) we recalled that we were actually there to meet the artist (who had been late) and pay for the art work. And out the front of the post office sitting with her daughter watching all of the action, was the artist who seemed rather untroubled about being late. Such is the life of the artist!
I give you, The Blue Lady:
|The Blue Lady|
It has been a dry couple of summer weeks here. Such weather produces the best sunsets!
|Dry summer days produce the most spectacular of sunsets|
|An old garden rake is used to remove bulk organic materials from the bright yellow trailer|
|A trailer load of sand and aggregate mix which will be used to produce concrete structures|
|The author mixes a batch of cement so as to construct an additional concrete step on this staircase|
|Another concrete step and hindsight is such a wonderful thing!|
The tomato harvest is a massive amount of work. Anyone who says otherwise is lying to you. On the other hand, we get to enjoy tomatoes in one form or another for the entire year. We dehydrate tomatoes:
|The Fowlers Vacola tomato dehydrator is going feral|
The dehydrated tomato chips are stored in olive oil for our enjoyment. The tomatoes have to be completely dry before being stored in olive oil otherwise they will go rancid and most likely poison you should you choose to eat them. It is not hard to tell when the tomatoes are completely dry because they look and feel like potato crisps, but taste 1000% better!
|Dehydrated tomatoes in olive oil are stored next to the years supply of pickled cucumbers|
We are also half way through the production of a years supply of passata. Passata is the fancy name for tomato sauce. With that stuff we cook up tomatoes and other vegetables and then sterilise and seal them using a hot water bath.
|Glass jars of passata being boiled in a hot water bath|
|A sample of this weeks harvest|
|The first eggplant of the season was harvested. Yummo!|
|There are so many cucumbers that the chickens are eating (and enjoying) at least two per day|
|Triffid alert! The marrows are truly feral|
|Every week, the rampant growth spewing into the many of the garden paths gets cut back hard|
|New and better quality hose hangers were installed this week|
|Ollie has destroyed his winter bedding (Breaking Bed!)|
|Kookaburra sits on the old gum tree, err sorry, ventilation pipe for the worm farm sewage system|
|Passionfruit are sadly very late in the season, but they put on such a good show|
|The ever faithful geraniums are going gang busters|