Archive for January, 2012

Overnight spike in population of dopes, daredevils, dummies, and sadists.

Letterboxes detonated, animals blasted, kids injured.

Common dare: holding an exploding twopenny bunger.

An explosive destroyer of letterboxes – with a young hand wrapped around  the blast!!!

Bonfire nights – BANNED! No wonder.

My protective friends, The Fates, kept my hands intact.

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Many marbles tournaments were played on the vacant block between the Percy’s & the Noorts*.

A block for neighbourhood events. Like …

Annual bonfire night.

Bonfire celebration of Empire Day ... or was it Guy Fawkes.

Anticipation builds with the pile, piling high.

Weeks of occasional explosions or crackling strings of  crackers, cranks up excitement.

Big night fires up friendships, flames, & fireworks.

Notes & Extras:

* Of course there were more vacant lots than lots with houses. This one was at 26 Guildford Rd, it was cleared and was a commonly used thoroughfare, short cut. Even today there is a path through there.

* Now, speaking of fire, I could not resist The Crazy World of Arthur Brown,

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A Primary School fad – marbles – ringers, follow-the-leader, castles, 9-holes.

Everywhere – at home, at school – the competition was on.

The champs of Guildford Rd – arguably, the whole of Penrith – Team Percy & Cowan

The collection grew – 100’s, and grew – 1,000’s

Eventually over 20,000.

Luckily Bram’s glass-eye didn’t drop into marble box.*

Notes & Extras

* Don’t know about the glass eye? See Short Memory No. 7 – A Scary Eyeful.

Some advice about playing marbles …

Here’s an excerpt from “How to play Ringers.” Click here (or the image) to go to How to play Marbles for the rest of the rules and rules of other games (mind you some of them have different names.).

The big play … knocking out your opponents “Taw”.

FIG. 7: child No.2 chooses to try for No. 1 child’s shooter and knocks it out of ring, winning all the marbles No.1 has taken and putting No.1 out of that game. Or he could shoot as shown in Fig. 8.

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8 years passes …

Older kids, cool kids in school – anti-establishment, anti-war, tune-in, drop-out.

They hung outside the boys’ toilets.

$10 (was it $5?)* for a matchbox filled with …


Dreams of being cool.

Naivety & Desire – parents of suckers.

Lawn cuttings filled the matchbox.

Solace: I was not the only dope.

What it should have been ...

What I reckon it was - from the lawn.

Notes & Extra.

* I can’t remember the quantity of cash involved in this “deal” – a result of age(?) or misspent youth(?).

* Anyway, maybe Arpad (from whose lawn I suspect the mix came) did us all a favour – according to this article from The Times of India – although his mix was dried and cured.

* This blog could easily cough up incriminating or embarrassing material (especially for me!!), I hope it doesn’t cause anyone any problems. If you think you might pop up in a memory of mine and would like to erase it, let me know!!

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Life is not all acid drops, icy pops and dry ice.

Alladin’s cave housed adult treasures.

Curiosity & mischievousness – a daring and delinquent mix.

Spelunking sprites find Raleigh’s treasure (in packs of 10).

Steals pack, steals away, lights up.

With a puff, a cough – contraband inhaled and Pandora’s box is opened.

Behind the garage ...

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Round about the cauldron go ...

Double double toil and trouble
Fire burn and cauldron bubble. 

Out of Alladin’s Cave – DRY ICE!

It’s cold, it burns, it bites.

Freezes ice-cream, makes water boil, bubble, smoke.

Handle with care.

So many opportunities for experiments, fun, practical jokes, and science.

… the devil offers a tempting, compelling highlight.



This video has some of the benign dry ice experiments/games.

For the devil’s dry ice workbook on KaBoom go to You Tube and search “dry ice bombs”.

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It was more like a mobile general store than an ice-cream van.

Tho’ ices & sweets dominated.

Roger’s (the moonlighting teacher) ice-cream run

Mr Whippy pink – no! – old blue van, passenger side open.

Greensleeves over loudspeakers – no! – brass bell with wooden handle.

Garage – no! – an Alladin’s Cave of treasures … and troubles.

A fleet of vans - always thinking big!!


Only 350 short memories to go – this 50 word restriction is very hard for a “real estate novelist.”

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The tandem – little Ronnie steering, shirtless Stephen anchoring.

Front yard at the Percy’s – Philip ‘n’ me.

Billycarters pass – cheering, screaming, laughing.

Spinning - slo-mo - through thick summer air

Egg flies.

Spins through humid summer air.

Slooow motion

Parabola meets straight-line,

Egg-path, cart-path intersect.

Direct Hit!

Egg shatters. Eggshell cuts bare back.

Fun but …

It wasn’t meant to hurt.

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Guildford Rd hill – great for billycarts.

Driver feet on front axle, rope reins in hand  – set.

Anchorman pushes, speed builds, jumps in – tandem billycart ride.

Wood splinters, wheels wobble, rope burns - a sturdy & safe ride.

Hurtling, bouncing.

Speed breakneck over rough surface.


Rough, rickety almost uncontrollable.

Wheels buckle, wood splits.

Splinters pierce young skin.

Gravel scrapes it.

Metho stings.


The billycart pictured is a model that was shown at The Powerhouse Museum. It looks exactly as we built our models – except ours invariably had a “cabin” that could hold at least two.

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A question often put to my brothers and I.

Mum is mum – clarity.

Roger appeared in news times, adventures, story times, verbal & written.

“Yes, but … WHO is Roger?”


mmmm … I guess.

I couldn't call him Roger here but soon it would be Roger or Rodge - "Hey, Rodge!!".

He was “Roger” – never “Dad” – from first spoken words.

“But where is your real dad?”

Eyes roll expressing OMG*!!!


* We did not have use of the acronym (OMG), nor even of the full expression … but the eyes conveyed the meaning effectively.

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