Archive for May, 2012

Safely home.

Weeks and weeks

Fishing, swimming, learning

Playing games, creating games, treasure hunting,

Just being together.

Protected and blessed and free enough

To discover blurring in the space between

Sky & sea, limited & limitless,

Sacred & profane, self & other,

Holiday for a life of contradiction & paradox.


In 2005 Roger retired after 40 years as CEO of Panthers. I had to deliver a speech on behalf of my brothers and our families. Observations about this holiday (Short Memories: 135 to 142) form the central part of that speech. For me, this holiday is pivotal in understanding how our family “hangs together” – well, it is certainly a pivotal moment for me.

The speech would not have suited this blog, but if you click the link, you’ll find it. On family, leadership, love, dignity.

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Homeward bound,

Pacific Highway

Winding, snaking South.

Caravan in tow, a weight

Dragging, destabilising.

Roger driving.

Down the mountain into


A slight slip, shift.

I feel it, sit up, lean forward.

Slip amplifies into sway.

“Shit!” – softly but seriously.

My back stiffens.

Roger’s knuckles harden.

Car straightens.

Relax again.


* This section of the old Pacific Highway hosts an annual motoring event called the Bulahdelah Hillclimb.  Here is someone going through the section of the highway in an MGB – this is the section of the highway we fishtailed our way down.





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While we build sandcastles,

Untangle fishing line,

Watch for the iceman,

Hunt, with Mum, for coins,

Roger hunts different treasure,

Takes him door-to-door

Sales pitch rehearsed.

Sales get us home.

Our holiday an escape

Temporarily evading home foreclosure.

Cushioned from the strain & pain,

Our childhood joy intact

And we play.

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It’s cloudy,

I climb onto grey rocks,

Look out where river meets sea,

Rolling, rough, powerful waters.

Walking along the breakwater

To the end.


There is only

Clouds & sea, & me.


Shafts of light

Slices through the clouds

Plunging into the water.

Stirring rolling tides of happiness.

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A new game in the caravan park

The Treasure Hunt.

Search for hidden coins

The caravan, the site

The car,

A shiny new “zac”.

Lifting out car seats,

The treasure* …

Ha’pennies, pennies, trays, zacs or bobs.

Two bob – the pinnacle.

The meaning of the treasure

Hidden by adult game-makers

And lost on carefree kids.


* Pre-decimals. Ha’penny (halfpenny); penny; tray= threepence; zac=sixpence; bob=shilling; two bob=2 shillings.

While we’re talking about currency. Only a few years after this the following ad was running in Australia, educating us about the big change that was to happen on 14th February 1966.

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Caravan park nights

Belong to family

No TV, no radio.

Just each other.

We play, talk, argue, joke,

Comfortable silences connect us.

We invent …

A new board game.

“Around Australia”

Move around Australia answering questions

About location characteristics.

We design, research & create a prototype.

Should’ve sent it to John Sands!








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Home is where the caravan is …

Caravan park, Home,

Beach to East

River to North

Metal grey rocks of breakwater

Where fishermen (and us) perch patiently.

My favourite moment …

Love the ice being delivered

Ice delivery

Old truck stacked with big crystal blocks

Metal pincers dig and scar

Ice-man strong, fluid lifts,

Totes, then delivers.

Pincer grip slips, Ice slivers fly.

A better look at the ice pincers.

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School’s  finished.

The caravan is hooked up,

We’re off, heading North.


Port Macquarie.

Fights for window seats.

The universal question:

“Are we nearly there, yet.” 

Travel games.

What’s the capital of …

Name the rivers …

Whose flag is …

BP Pick-a-Box* on wheels.

Happy times ahead.

Camped by the Hastings.


* BP Pick-A-Box was a TV quiz show, sponsored by BP. Bob Dyer was the hosted, ably assisted by his wife Dolly. This clip has Bob Dyer baiting Barry Jones who was a celebrated regular contestant on the show. Barry Jones would later be elected to teh Australian Parliament.

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Layers & layers of clothes.

… how many?


Transformed skinny Phil into

Phil – He was skinny, athletic & loved to make fun – the perfect person to play … The Fat Man.

A beach ball with legs & arms.

“The Fat Man.”

Innocent pedestrians trigger his release

This screaming, screeching, demonic Tweedledee

Attacking …

Rushing down the driveway, final falling

Onto front lawn, turtle-like, legs, arms flapping ineffectively.

Pedestrians agog.

Monumental crack-up!

Notes & Extra:

* The Fat Man was an innovation on the activities described in Short Memory #129 – Unsuspecting, under-the-weather club patrons: fair game for fun. We were always looking to improve our efforts.

** Poor Phil, we put so many clothes on him that he was almost suffocating. We often had to frantically rush to get the layers off him. Mind you he played the part like he owned it and loved it, despite the discomfort. I wish we had filmed it, it was the funniest thing – I’m giggling right now just thinking about.

A few years later, Ian Anderson heard about “The Fat Man at 138” and wrote a song. Here is Jethro Tull still performing the song in 1999.

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The dog door,

Needs use.

New addition to the family

Mixed, unknown parentage.

He slips and slides around the polished back-room floor.

(The rollerball rink.)

Chewed shoes, house training blues

Generating anger, anxiety, and …

Cries of:

“Oh, he’s so cute!”

All white, one black eye.

Part corgi,

He is Lucky.

A mature Lucky.

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