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Posts Tagged ‘Queensland’

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This may sound strange, but the first time I saw, let alone used a typical outside ‘Dunny’ was when I came to Australia in 1972. It is only strange in that coming from the UK, I am led to believe there used to be many outside toilets, but I had been fortunate not to come across any. Strange but true.

The summer of ’72 was hot and the family, who were already in Australia, did their best to take us around the South East parts of Queensland and see as much as we could over these summer holidays. It was on one such excursion when it was pitilessly hot, for someone from the UK winter anything over 25 degrees Celsius was going to be hot, and my bladder was screaming for release that I relented and entered my first ‘Long Drop’.

There are always a huge number of people who will regale you with tales of the perils of using the outside dunny and the long drop. The dunny was the home of the green tree frogs who would come out, especially once the heat of the day was over and would often jump up onto your nether regions as you were ensconced on the dunny.  Then there were the Redback spiders – whose bite was painful and on the nether regions could be extremely embarrassing as well.  “Always lift the seat before sitting down”, I was told.

Then there were the admonitions to check the walls and under the roof for daddy long legs or tarantulas that might decided to wander in on you.  That is of course forgetting about the odd snake which may have slithered into the yard between the house and the dunny. Altogether it did not seem to be somewhere I would really want to go if I could avoid it.

But first, the “Long Drop”. No one would say anything about it, simply smiled that “I can’t wait to see this” smile you knew was up to no good.

image from drawinz.com –

It was hot, we had been drinking copiously and bladders would not be ignored any longer. I approached this “Long Drop” with something akin to dread. Inside was a wooden box with a toilet seat on it. Taking all my spare courage I peeked over the edge since I could swear I could see daylight. All I could see was fresh air, yes, fresh air, and a huge drop going down and down and down.

You could say it was the most delicate seating I had experienced in my life to that point. I was terrified that if I sat down I would fall through this hole and vanish down the mountainside. I didn’t want to think about the specifics of how it worked, I simply wanted to find some relief and leave….. quickly. Needless to say my Australianised family thought it was the most humorous thing they had ever seen.  I didn’t repeat the experience. You can wait an awful long time before succumbing to needless torture.

Yet the most horrifying experience came when I visited my future  husband’s family property. They still had the old outside dunny. The house was a beautiful Queenslander and I simply didn’t think about the toilet, I  assumed it would be just like the one at home. We didn’t arrive until late in the afternoon so it was after dusk before I felt the ‘urge’.  Of course as soon as I mentioned it to my wonderful boyfriend he decided it was time to remind me about all those old stories I had heard when I first arrived in Australia. By this time I had been here just over two years.

So  I waited, and waited and waited until I couldn’t wait any longer. The outhouse was situated under an old spreading gum, shade for during the day, but of course in my mind easy access for any creepy crawlies and slithering reptiles who would delight in scaring the living daylights out of me.  So I took the easy way out and applied copious amounts of guilt on my boyfriend in front of his grandmother to walk me up the ‘garden path’. Big mistake. HUGE Mistake. GARGANTUAN mistake.

Torch in hand off we walked to the dunny. “You go first” he said.  Humpf! There was no interior light so once the door closed it was pitch black. I  had barely time to try to sit down before there was an almighty crash onto the tin roof! An unladylike strangled scream split the air. (I was trying to make a good impression on his grandmother). I almost launched myself off the offending dunny but nature could not be denied. 

A minute passed and then here were two more crashes onto the roof. This time the screech was not strangled and I very nearly had an accident. At the speed of light I was off the dunny, dressed and out that door. There I found, not a concerned boyfriend, not an army of snakes or bats or anything else in the critter variety but the huddled and tortured form of my boyfriend. He was holding himself upright, just, and trying to smother screeches of laughter from erupting from his throat, I could see by the light of the torch that he was red in the face and had  tears running down his face.

Fortune was with me. I grabbed the nearest loose object, which happened to be a cement hard lump of dirt and threw it with all my might at him. The resounding thud and choking sounds were more than satisfying as I stalked back to the house.  I had already connected with his grandmother so I was delighted to tell her what her grandson had done. He spent the night on the cold verandah on a day bed (in the middle of winter) and I snuggled under a beautiful doona with an electric blanket.

The moral of the story, it’s all very well to take the mickey out of someone but be prepared to face the consequences if they don’t take kindly to your sense of humour.

The final epitaph to the story is that I never entered another outhouse for many years, and that is one story which still gives me nightmares.

image from funnymemes.com.au

See, I’m telling the truth… tarantulas on the toilet roll.

Aussie saying…..

May your chooks turn into emus and kick your dunny down.

image from http://www.sportingpulse.com The Dunny Race!

Retaining some semblance of dignity I have never been in a dunny race,

Ciao,

Susan

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This is a true story, only the names have been changed to protect…. the innocent!

Many years ago, our heroine had been, for a relatively brief time, an officer in the Queensland Police Force, back in the days when it was called a “Force” to represent that it was a force against the undesirable element in out society. In the heady rearrangement of brain cells created by the ‘love bug’ she had been persuaded to leave her dream job to marry and eventually start a family.

It was at this juncture that the family relocated to a relatively sleepy country town called Toowoomba, in the Downs area of Queensland. Her husband remained in the police department and she wrestled with motherhood and the boredom of a country town, being known as a policeman’s wife.  In desperation she became a member of the local YMCA gym, eventually becoming something of a gym junkie, there being little else to do in town.

image from whatshotwhatstrendingnow.com –

This was in the days of Jane Fonda’s highly publicized  exercise videos and gym wear. I can attest to the fact that those slinky, shiny g string lycra leotards and form-fitting leggings were extremely comfortable to exercise in! They didn’t look too bad then either.

So here we have the bored housewife at the gym on a cold winter’s morning, music blaring and fully engrossed in the class.  Suddenly there is a cacophony of sound coming from across the spare paddock, near the shopping centre. The alarm from the local bank was blaring away.

As they all gathered at the windows three men, dressed in ‘great coats’, balaclava and carrying what appeared to be heavy bags cam running across the paddock towards the road running past the gym.

Excitement! Bank robbers – fleeing the scene – escaping! Without another thought she ran out of the gym and up the street towards where the robbers had crossed the road. There was a vague, not quite fully formed idea in mind that she would check where they had disappeared into a driveway and let the police know where they had gone. Perhaps she might see the getaway car and let them know that too,

Imagine the scene. A young, relatively scantily clad woman is running up a street, dressed in gym gear, in the middle of a cold Toowoomba winter’s day, after three armed bank robbers. (She didn’t know they were armed at that point). Heading into the driveway they had disappeared along she carefully trotted down the concrete drive to see if she could catch a glimpse of them.

There at the edge of the driveway was a black object. Getting closer she realise it was a sawn off shotgun. Interesting! Very interesting! No sign of the offenders but a car had its engine roaring in the next street and disappearing at a great rate out-of-town. (She peeked, and saw a dark blue Ford heading away – FAST).

Heading back to the gym, after all she wasn’t carrying a phone,

she met a taxi slowly coming up the street so headed towards him.

After telling him what she had seen and where the gun was she asked him to let the police know. She could hear the police channel on the radio so she knew that he could relay the message. Instead she was met with a pair of eyes as round as teacups and a mouth hanging open wide enough to catch blow flies!

She had to repeat the message three times before she saw a glimmer of understanding and by that time the police had arrived and she went through her story with them.  To be fair, apart from grinning at the sight she presented they got the information out to the other  cars.

Getting back to they gym, as odd as it may sound, the gym class resumed as if nothing had happened. Nothing got in the way of the aerobics class!

However, not everyone was able to approach the incident with the insouciance  of our accidental heroine. The gym owner had called the local newspaper to relate the story and they had a reporter waiting in reception to interview ‘their star’! This was disastrous.

Being a police officers wife, it is against all policy to be interviewed by the press, without getting clearance from Headquarters. This of course, failed to even consider how her husband would react when he found out, or the rest of his fellow officers.

Fortunately, the reporter was a ‘good scout’ and hearing the problem, reported the story without identifying the heroine. Except – everyone at the police station had already been given a detailed description of the lady in the ‘sexy leotard’ by the officers she had spoken to. He couldn’t get away from it, neither could she.

The bank robbers were caught a few hours later, thanks to her information. The staff at the police station twitted our erstwhile detective for weeks. It was a boring town, very little exciting happened there! Promises of “Never Again” were extracted and life returned to its previous humdrum pattern.

image from lillieleonardi.com

“Sometimes standing against evil is more important than defeating it. The greatest heroes stand because it is right to do so, not because they believe they will walk away with their lives. Such selfless courage is a victory in itself.”   N.D. Wilson, Dandelion Fire

.

(But I still have the article which appeared in the newspaper to remind me of a little excitement on cold winters morning in Toowoomba!)

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It’s been a chaotic and tragic Australia Day here in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. We are now in full “get back to normal” phase, thanks to all the hard working Emergency Services personnel and the hundreds or thousands of volunteers.  I’m laying here in my bed looking at a limited view of the scenery and wishing I could do more than offer  my prayers in my meditations. I have to be grateful I’m not underfoot and need to be rescued!

Green and healthy hibiscus, new yellow buds already

Green and healthy hibiscus, new yellow buds already

The jungle of vines tangled with the palms from my first floor bedroom window. I have the strangest view at times since I’m so high off the ground. Like this bud outside my window, 25 feet off the ground yet looking so fragile.

Dead palm fronds stuck in trees waiting to fall

Dead palm fronds stuck in trees waiting to fall

Dead palm fronds are hung up by neighbouring trees, just waiting for the right moment to fall. They sound like a mini explosion as they hit the ground. Too high to remove we have to wait on nature to take a hand.

Smallest of our palm trees itching reach of the house

Smallest of our palm trees itching reach of the house

You can see how tall the palm trees are. These are the smallest of those near the house. At their feet you can just make out the fallen fronds we have yet to clear away. These two came down last night.

Fronds on the ground without hitting anything

Fronds on the ground without hitting anything

The little billabong/ dam filled after the rain.

The little billabong/ dam filled after the rain.

The small dam/ billabong filled overnight with the rain. It’s hard to see with all the weeds which had taken over. It looks so picturesque at present. All the dead palm fronds have been cleared away.

Fragile lilies under the awning in full flower

Fragile lilies under the awning in full flower

Hiding in safety, my fragile lilies are flowering beautifully after the fresh rain. Nothing is better than sweet rain for them.

Pale green orchid rescued before the downpour.

Pale green orchid rescued before the downpour.

Even more fragile my small green orchid. I’ve been watching the buds form all week so my husband made a rescue dash to bring it inside to flower for me.

Everything looks peaceful and lush.

Everything looks peaceful and lush.

Red hibiscus bud framed by dead palm fronds.

Red hibiscus bud framed by dead palm fronds.

the entwined limbs of all the plants show off their different hues. Life blossoms around us, even 25 feet in the air!  This red hibiscus bud would be 35 feet high yetis surrounded by dead palm fronds waiting to shake loose. The long cane it waves to and fro on will whip it out of the way as the fronds come down. Fragile yet strong, amazing isn’t  it?

Heart centered

Heartcentred

So from my home to yours, I wish everyone love and peace. I pray everyone finds a safe harbour in the storms. I look forward to seeing everyone well and happy as soon as possible.

With love and gratitude. Susan

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