Odds & Sods

Journal: 017

Sail & Anchor, Fremantle (wiki)

I’m having (will have had by the time this is posted) a week off. The truck has had a leaking radiator for a few weeks now and on Saturday Sam used it as an excuse not to give me the load he promised me on Friday. I guess one of his own trucks didn’t have work. So I’ve put it in to have the radiator replaced. Apparently modern radiators are too fragile to be repaired.

Hence a journal of odds & sods. My mother used to say “you sod” meaning I think, you duffer. Wrong consonants! My family, all of whom read I’m Making a Mistake, were quick to capitalize on my unexpected availability and I was allocated the task of picking up nearly 15 year old granddaughter from a party in Freo. at 10.30 pm (negotiated down from 11.30). I was already at Milly’s doing some carpentering – she’s never slow to capitalize – so we got changed and went down to Freo for dinner and a movie.

Dinner was ok, we wandered through the markets and ended up at the multi-outlet place next to the Sail & Anchor. I had Malaysian, rice and fish curry, and a glass of cheap white. Outside, in the busking space, a 9 or 10 year old girl was dancing furiously with a hula hoop. I put a few dollars in her hat. The movie was The Insult. Earlier in the week I’d been discussing an Israeli view of the Palestinian ‘problem’ with Sue (Whispering Gums) and this was the same problem from a different viewpoint, that of right wing Christian Lebanese forced to share their country with Palestinian refugees. It was a good movie, until I got a phone call from nearly 15’s father (at home with 6 and 8).

Nearly 15 is in with a bad crowd as they say and it’s impacting on her schooling and her home life and I was a bit anxious about what state she’d be in by 10.30. So when her dad said (Yes, I went outside to return the call) granddaughter and her friend were waiting to be picked up nearby two hours early, I walked straight there, and Milly caught us up a few minutes later. Two more fifteenish 15 year olds you wouldn’t want to meet. They were bored, they were hungry. Their phones didn’t work, or were lost, or the chargers were lost. We fed them, took them home. I think the other girl hadn’t told her mother everything she might as she (the mother) and Milly had a long talk when Milly rang her in the morning. A happy ending. I just need to borrow the movie to see how it ends.

Westerly, our local bookish magazine, has an essay by Claire G Coleman (my review of Terra Nullius) on the perils of being Indigenous and speaking at Writers Festivals – The Risks of Question Time (here). It seems there will always be at least one old white person to tell the Indigenous how to be Indigenous.

I am speaking to whitey now; you made us. You took our land, you raped our ancestors and made our people feel so unwanted, so hated, that they felt it necessary to capitulate by marrying and bonking our oppressors. When our children were born mixed-race, you decided we were inferior even to our own people and tried to breed us whiter, breed out the black and took kids from their families to ensure you had power over them. You told us our culture was worthless and forced your ‘education’ on us. Some of us excelled at your education and those of us who do well within your system are now, in your minds, ‘not really Aboriginal’.

Leaving aside that I don’t go to Writers Festivals and I find it very difficult to speak in public, I hope I am not such a person. I think we have reached a place in black/white relations in Australia where Indigenous people can speak for themselves. Our duty is to choose the right people to speak for us, to negotiate fairly to achieve a situation where Indigenous people can live both with and alongside mainstream society as they choose.


Weds. I had big plans for this week, all the things I’d put off doing for lack of time (vacuuming for instance!) but instead I seem to be relaxing. Delivered the truck to the repairer, Monday, and Millie’s dog to the kennels. Took Millie to the airport Tues. Had tea with Gee and the kids last night. They all said “Where’ve you been, Poppy?”. I stayed long enough to read two Anh Dos. This morning I did nothing except finish Georgette Heyer’s The Foundling, which I bought at the Addison Road Markets in Sydney last week. I’ve written a couple of posts, had lots of fun with the comments on The Dry. Ok, I’ll stop there and bring my business accounts up to date.

Thurs. Work says there should be work today. Gee gave me a lift – getting her thesis completed is proving a struggle, so she was happy to skive off uni for an hour – so I could pick up the truck and run it back to the depot. Dropped in at Crow Books, got myself a Magbala book, Blackwork by Alison Whittaker (poetry!), and Jane Eyre and a Perth YA, Before You Forget by Julia Lawrinson for Ms Nearly 15. Sept/Oct is birthday season in my family so there’ll be more business for Crow when I get back.

No work yet. Maybe tomorrow (Fri.)

Recent audiobooks

Reginald Hill (M, Eng), A Pinch of Snuff (1978)
Jane Harper (F, Vic/Aust), The Dry (2016)
George Eliot (F, Eng), Silas Marner (1861) – Project Gutenberg

Currently reading

Dale Spender, Mothers of the Novel
Georgette Heyer, The Foundling
Frank Moorhouse (ed.),The Drover’s Wife
Yelena Moskovich, The Natashas


22 thoughts on “Odds & Sods

  1. Woo hoo – not ha ha this time – I’m early to comment for a change! Thanks for the link. I don’t think I’ve heard of The insult but I’m not good at remembering films I haven’t seen.

    I hope you were happy to have the break… I hate to think you are being taken advantage of. I hate to think workers are ring taken advantage of to the extent that their livelihood is affected.

    I keep wondering what life my new little grandson will have and how his parents will manage it. I think life for parents is very challenging these days. But then my mother thought that about my life as a parent do perhaps plus ça change?


    • Sorry I didn’t give you more meat to comment about. See The Insult if it fit’s your busy schedule, I certainly hope to see the second half some time soon. I’m seeing challenges in a couple of areas. The first affects nearly 15 and it is that government high schools are too big and impersonal and spending is restricted and poorly directed. I hope that by the time your grandson and my younger grandchildren are adults we will have returned to a taxation policy that supports proper welfare, health and education. What the poor little buggers are going to do about a 2-10m rise in sea levels I’m not sure!


      • Me too. We’ve always been supporters of state schools. But saw the challenges too. I am see people wanting the so-called “best” for their children and so opting for private education but I have so many concerns about this “best”… what it means, it’s implications, and how you define it, that I could never consider such education for our kids.


      • I was worried about government schools for my own kids – the two oldest started in ‘prestige’ schools, rebelled and returned to Blackburn High. The youngest did 6 years at an excellent CEGGS, money well spent! After considerable research she put her own kids into the Steiner system, which worked/is working well at least at primary level.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I think so Bill – except I don’t think see it as sacrifice. I really feel very strongly that we need to support public education, and I think education is about more than academics. BTW, our daughter duxed her co-ed high school, duxed her co-ed secondary college (year 11/12), and won an university medal and prize at her co-ed (of course) university. She then started a PhD, but decided that that was enough study – and after travelling and working overseas is now working in a private education company putting her social justice hat on everyday because while they sell their product they organise and negotiate deals for poorer schools.

        Sounds like we’ll have to agree to differ here. However, I appreciate that the decision isn’t simple, and I did worry about the decisions we made on and off over the years. In the end though, I couldn’t overcome my fundamental philosophical viewpoint.

        Oh and before you think Canberra doesn’t have the social or economic challenges of other jurisdictions, I should add that our children when to one of the lowest socio-economic primary schools in Canberra (it was a mixed suburb with a lot of public housing for low income and unemployed people). We kept them there when we moved suburbs, because it was a great little school. I was board chair for much of their time at the school.


      • I can remember dad touring ACT schools when we were visiting his parents (in Turner), he was quite envious, but that was 1960s. Good on your daughter for beating the boys, I guess we’ll each have to stick by our decisions.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I guess we’ll have to!

        Yes the 60s were probably a bit different. Our schools were part of NSW Education Department then and the community here was more homogeneous though we’ve always had low socioeconomic areas. Overall, on a state/territory basis, I think our educational scores are higher because our overall level of education is higher.


  2. I’m just home from Dunkeld and back in 48 hours and I don’t know how you do it. I used to be able to do ten hours driving without a blink, but I’d had it after three going down and didn’t last for much more than an hour coming back.


      • I hope so. We saw some terrible driving on the way. there must be something about Holdens: we had the car on cruise control at the speed limit, and there were five Holdens that overtook us at high speed, including one who did it on the crest of a hill. Obviously the police don’t monitor those highways very often…


    • I know what you mean Lisa. I used to drive to Sydney regularly when I was young – a 4 hour drive. I now drive to Berrima every year to see a friend, and the 2-hours is manageable. But Mr Gums and I, in our recent trip to Melbourne and our trip these last two days to Port Macquarie, find we’re happiest if we change drivers every hour.

      I don’t think I’ve ever done 10 hours on my own in my life!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. 15 is such a tough age – you couldn’t pay me to go back. Take comfort in the fact that your granddaughter is making sensible decisions like “I want to leave the party”. I’ve always said to my kids that it doesn’t matter where they are or what time it is, I’ll come and get them – their safety is my no.1 priority. But I’m constantly amazed by the fact that this is not the some with other kids they know.


    • More sensible solutions would be handy! but yes we were all 15 once, though I was such a gawky country boy that I’m not sure when. On the other hand I think one of my daughters was 15 from ages 11 thru 25. Still she’s over it now. Hard work! For her even more than for us.


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