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Retired carpenter..history buff, local and ancient..love stories of Italianate style, especially those village superstition stories..Very far left-wing.

Starved into surplus

I don’t know about you lot, but this year is the first time I’ve had to offer ‘rain cheques’ for Chrissy presents … being on just the aged pension has restricted us to just the essentials this year … like food, clothing (even as I write this, I can feel the soles of my feet touch the floor through my slippers), and shelter … We had to go easy on the wine for Xmas dinner, calling a limit on cost to just over $5 per bottle (Bertoli “Sacred Hill” Sauv’/blanc/plonk) … It’s quite good actually … and you can suck on the cork for some extra depth! And I think my cousin Lucy is going to lose one of her geese to “a fox” sometime in the next week.

But it’s getting pretty crook … I notice there aren’t too many smiles on the young mum’s faces down at the mega shopping mall as they queue with their kiddies for a sit on Chris Cringles lap … the kiddies … not the mums … and I distinctly heard one tattooed, gum-chewing scrubber tell her kid to; “Forget the bling … just ask for a voucher”. All this when we hear the LNP government is going to cheer us up with its MYEFO telling us cheerily of a projected budget surplus … Oh, Happy days! … And over all the bon hominy Christmas muzak pumping out of the speakers in the mall, I could distinctly hear that old lag; Fagin singing his theme song; You gotta pick a pocket or two”:

“In this life
One thing counts
In the bank
Large amounts
I’m afraid these don’t grow on trees
You’ve got to pick a pocket or two
You’ve got to pick a pocket or two
Boys!
You’ve got to pick a pocket or two.”

So the upshot is that we, the low-life citizen body is going to be starved so they; the sweet-life, can show a number in the black side of the ledger … How sweet it is! Almost as poetic as a thirsting man getting drowned in a flash flood while he digs in the creek-bed for some sustaining water … at least someone gets a smile from it!

Getting a surplus on the books while your nation starves is no big deal … For some of those tyrants in ancient times, that was the usual modus operandi … that and thieving funds from one side of the ledger to make the other side look better … Google: Gaius Verres / Sicily and you can get the gist of how it is done … then as now, except that these moderns have learned from Gaius how to cover your tracks … not less vicious, not less avaricious … just less obvious … subtle is the name of the game in these times … just ask any LNP member of the house who has a property portfolio fatter than George Christiansen’s waistline … and all gotten on “hard-earned” wages. But I hear they are “reviewing” the situation.

Again from Fagin:

“I’m reviewing the situation.
If you want to eat — you’ve got to earn a bob!
Is it such a humiliation
For a robber to perform an honest job?
So a job I’m getting, possibly,
I wonder who my boss’ll be?
I wonder if he’ll take to me …?
What bonuses he’ll make to me …?
I’ll start at eight and finish late,
At normal rate, and all… but wait!
… I think I’d better think it out again.”

And now, if things go right we may get a Labor government in next year, and that means if the MSM doesn’t go all out on a new “Kill Bill” campaign … and going by the ABC breakfast interview … did I say “interview”? … sorry, I meant “inquisition” … this morning (17/12/’18) with Wayne Swan, that is going to be the common theme. I still say that it was a damn shame when a good Hue and Cry roundup followed by a solid horse-whipping of certain culprits went out of fashion … a crying shame.

As a fellow citizen of this wide, brown land … made even browner now through a lack of action on climate change aversion, I don’t need to make a list of the services and shortfalls of unfunded and stretched authorities and schemes this “fiscally responsible government” has scrooged money – from everything from A to Zee – and this is how a LNP government gets its budget balanced … a bit like the tyrant using hanging men as a counterweight balance to weigh his gold. And what’s a life or two lost from lack of essential services when compared to that end of the financial year splurge on more medals and ribbons for the Border Force heroes? Everyone loves a parade.

But I am beginning to feel a growing chasm between the “haves” and the “f#ck-offs” in this world … even with the better-served “lefties”, I can just get the glimmer … if you cock your head just that little to the right and peer, squint-eyed through that social services crack you just fell through up to the tenured positioned “fortunate sons” of that class that never seem to feel the squeeze of “fiscal constraint” … or at least have a line of credit available to them that need not involve a threat of “sixpence to the knee” if payments drop behind!

It almost makes one feel like breaking into another verse of song:

“What happens when I’m seventy?
Must come a time … seventy.
When you’re old, and it’s cold
And who cares if you live or you die,
Your one consolation’s the money
You may have put by …
I’m reviewing the situation.
I’m a bad ‘un and a bad ‘un I shall stay!
You’ll be seeing no transformation,
But it’s wrong to be a rogue in ev’ry way.
I don’t want nobody hurt for me,
Or made to do the dirt for me.
This rotten life is not for me.
It’s getting far too hot for me.
There is no in between for me
But who will change the scene for me?
Don’t want no one to rob for me.
But who will find a job for me … I think I’d better think it out again!”

(All words in songs from the musical Oliver).

Yes … I too will have to “review” the situation.

The Tradesman’s Return

“Trades-unions, composed of the workmen in the different trades, were recognized in the time of the (first Roman) monarchy, and no effort was ever made to dissolve them, until they began to exert a political influence.” (R. W. Husband; Legislation against Political Clubs during the Republic).

By the time of the return to Roman Imperial governance with Julius Caesar, these Unions or Guilds were banned by decree … seen as “dangerous to public order.” It is now time for them to return WITH political power to RESTORE public order.

First, let me assure the reader that by “Tradesman”, I am referring to a gender-neutral title … there are many of both genders now working hand-in-hand toward the one end: “The workers united, will NEVER be defeated!”

Over the last millennia, while the Aristocracy, then the Military, then the Oligarchical upper-middle classes have fooled about with their power base, debauching, slaughtering and fiddling with both populations and economies, till we see evidence of their gormless incompetence literally screwing up the entire environment of our planet, driving a huge percentage of its denizens into refugee status and yet STILL proclaiming brazenly from all its various media platforms that THEY … and THEY ALONE are the best managers of political and economic outcomes.

WHAT AN ABSOLUTE EFFING LOAD OF BULLSHIT!

Look at just the century past … At the start of the century, we had the last remnants of the inbred aristocracy drag us into their world war of pride and pomp and ceremony that claimed the lives of millions of young people … and then with the next world war, we get the rising middle-classes dragging us into their war of economic opportunity that claimed the lives of millions more. And since then, we have had an unending parade of greater or lesser conflicts and skirmishes for in most cases nothing more than political / economic or religious (the high priests of capitalism) ideology.

All these “players” that want to drive their peoples or other nation’s citizens into a game of monopoly control of either cheap labour or cheap raw commodities, come from the one central class … the non-producing, non-productive middle / upper-middle classes … NOT the trades, NOT the farmers or producers, NOT the service / health carers classes … ALL … if not in actual position, then in aspiration toward the upper-middle classes.

It is time to put an end to this madness.

The representative bodies and unions of the producing classes have both the right and the capability to govern and manage production and economies. The rise in numbers of the educated working classes to sustain and improve the functioning capabilities of a society BEYOND personal individual grandiose statements, would result in an improved social status for ALL citizens of the State.

This is not just a pipe dream, an attempt at persuasion toward socialism or communism. We can now look to see which Nation States that exist as an example of civil governance that best caters for its particular peoples and which operate in a state of absolute mayhem. We do not need to copy in exact detail those governments … indeed, such would be foolhardy, some having enormous population control challenges, some having long histories of conflict with bordering neighbour nations … etc. What we here in Australia need to look to is that ideal which gives the average citizen access to infrastructure, education, health and secure employment that offers dignity of life and security of lifestyle. We are definitely NOT getting either from the continued rapine of our resources and working young and those whose health situation is vulnerable.

The trade / working class representative unions, coupled with the true “On the Land” farmers and producers … along with engineering and scientific research bodies can lift the nation out of the greedy clutches of an anachronistic strangulation of the conservative upper-middle class oligarchs, who have secured for their own riches, their own wants and scheming, the machinery of State. Their rusted and seized intellects no longer have the spark of imagination to set in motion a new world opportunity of “Equality, Fraternity, and Liberty” … Theirs is no more than a dark dungeon of despair, deprivation and desperation.

“Away with all pests!”

There is a measure of undeniable certainty by which to gauge the honest intent of a person’s capability to envisage, oversee and manage a situation, particularly if that situation requires knowledge of planning, supply, needs-base and results. That person may not need to oversee the entire go-to-whoa job, but they do need to have practical insight to envision or to pass over to others WITH PROVEN ABILITY to manage the project. This is where “factory-floor” experience is vital. It is in the space between proposal and approval that the “job-skills” of government members come into their own.

The upper-middle and even some of the old middle-class management styles are both inadequate and incapable of seeing long-term requirements of infrastructure needs above their “consciousness of kind” colleagues who lobby them incessantly for financial or political favour that benefits only their own class but is paid for and in the long run suffered by the producing classes.

Corruption, deceit, fraud and dishonesty are the hallmarks of this decayed and debauched class that has over time worked its favoured sons and daughters into positions of power and influence in both governance and authority. People who, in many cases have little knowledge or capacity to do a half-decent job. The one thing you cannot fake, unlike the “fake it till you make it” middle-class brigade that in the end never really “makes it” at all, or else makes a complete botch up of the whole job! … witness the NBN, the NDIS, the ABCC, ASIC, ACCC, the Productivity Commission, the Fairwork Commission and Government itself!! … we could go on … the only thing you cannot fake is hard work … honest application to create out of raw materials, be they animal, vegetable, mineral or human … is that end result that is visible, tangible and applicable in a practical sense … NOT some will-o-the-wisp rubbish that is only “funded-for-fun” for speculators and investors seeking profit above utility … profit above people. The producing classes can and do deliver the staple infrastructure that is the foundation, the building blocks, structural design and finishing touch to the WHOLE of society! It is the working trades that are the backbone of production and living standards of ALL societies in any time in history … All religious / ethical beliefs follow from them … and ought to give credence to them and in the end offer thanks to them.

We have seen the damage that the unskilled and unqualified can do … It is time to go one better … it is time for The Tradesman’s Return.

Is it time to reconsider a Communist political agenda for Australia?

Communism in Australia has for a long time had to share the punishment stocks with that old mock of shame of “The love that dare not speak its name” … being held up as almost heinous a crime as sexual predatory behaviour. But why? … After all, it is no more than another political possibility in management of a country.

Consider these latest scandals concerning the banking/financial sector … the crimes were of the grubbiest, the most mean in both penny-pinching and spirit of the most elderly and the most vulnerable … and then there are those other associated arms of conglomeracy: The energy sector, communications and allied device manufacturers, there is the minerals industry with the coal lobby going flat out trying to both delay the closing down of a dirty industry until the biggest players can offload their stranded assets or to corrupt an already corrupt political group to “keep the home fires burning” and delay much needed climate change legislation. There is the corp-agriculture sector with its mega hedge-fund management takeovers of water licences and working with those same banks toward pricing the smaller family farms out of business. There is the mega online retail and marketing business going flat-strap with minimal employment or wages/conditions killing the small and big high-street retailers and putting all those employees out of work.

Then there is real-estate, pay-rates, conditions of employment if and when one gets a half decent or serious job that calls for your presence on the job for more than one hour a week … no hour-guaranteed employment contracts that keep a person hanging on the thread of a “promise” without commitment for that day’s work and then on a pay-rate that would drive Scrooge McDuck to shame! And don’t even mention super, sick or holiday pay … and for the love of God don’t get pregnant!

Let’s be honest and realistic about this whole capitalist corporation political system … You could put any of those aforementioned corporations and cabals up before a Royal Commission and they would be as guilty as the banks with corruption, bribery, swindling, gouging and any other adjective descriptive criminality that it is possible to think of or mention … and then we get people saying that Capitalism is the best you can expect as a social system.

And so we have the cheer squad for capitalist enterprise saying that this is the perfect platform for anyone to get a life and become one of the top earners … the top 1%; you … there in the crowd! … perhaps it is your turn for the spot on the dais of success! Get real … get a life … there’s only one way to the top of the wealth pile if you don’t start with old family money or networks and that is by subterfuge of operating in a speculative, quasi criminal operation … like the above mentioned … or you could be a creative, tech’ genius? But that’s not really you, is it?

So, having got the “against” out of the way … let’s see what’s the positives for the possibility of a re-run of the communist manifesto.

Here are some examples of the Australian Communist Party Policies for 1960:

Monopolies Dominate

Only 104 men from 60 millionaire families in Australia direct 249 companies whose capital is valued on the stock exchange at £2075 million, These monopolies — Coles, Myers, Wool-worths, C.S.R., the banks and insurance companies, the breweries and others — dominate ail spheres of Australian life. Starting on a loan from the Commonwealth Bank, in 10 years General Motors-Hoidens has returned to its American owners ; $87 million in profits white increasing its assets by £70 million, Yet this company stands down 8,400 employees, causing them and their families dire distress in order to save a miserable £300,000.

Broken Hill Proprietary, Australia’s most powerful total monopoly, last year made a net profit of £15 million. In the same year it handed out to share-holders free share holdings worth about 150 miIIion.

Higher Living Standards and Security for the Working People to combat the growing economic crisis, to increase purchasing power find jobs for the unemployed, the Communist Party calls for:

Higher wages, a 35-hour working week, equal pay for women and higher rates for young workers.

• Federal and State Government co-operation in stabilisation schemes for each farm industry, to provide a guaranteed price to all working producers covering the cost of production for an amount of produce up to that necessary to provide a living income.

• Reduced taxation on low incomes and higher taxation on the wealthy. Abolition of all forms of indirect taxation or articles of mass consumption.

• Curbs on profiteering monopolies such as legislation to prevent takeovers, strict price controls, capital gains and excess profits tax; reduction of interest rates on hire purchase, housing and farm loans, and nationalisation of the biggest monopolies such as B.H.P., G.M.H. and others.

(Here … it’s somewhere in this extraordinary index of papers, books and writings … I can’t find the exact docco again).

Hey! … I would say the above is just the solution we need today! … and this was way back in 1960! … WTF! But there’s more!

In foreign affairs, Australia has no independent voice. The Menzies government slavishly follows the plans of the American billionaire war planners, and offends and threatens our Asian neighbours.

The 200 million (pounds) spent each year on so-called “defence” enriches the monopolies but contributes very little, if anything, to the security of our nation (ibid).

Need I go on?

As many of us have lamented so many times on this site and elsewhere that we are sick in body and soul of repeating ourselves and nothing happens. Well, folks … there you have it … it’s been said since 1960 and before and still the monopolies rule, the corporations get richer and more powerful, and the politicians keep marching out from under those same sandstone Latin-logo’d porticoes and very little changes. Now why do you reckon that is? Perhaps those capitalist promoters are right: This is the best we are going to get, so wrap up the banners, take down the barricades and shut-the-f#ck-up!

Communism? Hah! … who needs it?

The Hollowed Stone

(Love: The lost child of sophistication.)

Love … Do we even know what it means anymore? And if we did, how many of us would be willing to “throw it all over” … our whole lives … on a whim of passionate emotion … I mean, now that we are all aware and sophisticated and have example and warning of just where such reckless action could lead one? Seriously, ask yourself if you would throw yourself into the arms of another with reckless abandon these days of economic, material and social individualism?

I found this little bit of doggerel in a letter written by a young woman back in the war (2nd) years giving flight to her desire to secretly see her boyfriend, and as it turned out – future husband – who was a woodcutter near the Murray River.

Now I am free …
Off through the scrub I run,
Where sheep tracks only are seen,
Nothing but bush and sun.
Till all of a sudden I come
Out where an axe swings free
Cutting for love and money,
The axe bites deep in a tree.
Then the owner looks up of a sudden,
And gives me a happy smile
And says I hoped you would come,
And I stay there … quite a while.“

The words themselves give clue to both the hunger for company and the possibility for a future that only young love could be so certain was a possibility …  “Cutting for love and money” ,.. What would a timber cutter’s wages be and what future for one of such qualification? Where would such an adult find reassurance in such a relationship … a relationship with the financial support of a labourer’s qualifications? We’ve all seen the end results of low income, low housing and child support capabilities … and it’s not nice … who would want it?

And then there’s the other end of the spectrum where a person has purchased property and is getting on with a good career and then they have to consider whether it is wise to bring another person into their life and home, and risk having to pay over half the property if something goes wrong further down the line a little. It’s all a bit too much, really.

So where does love come into this picture of modern social sophistication?

Where now for the naïve young girl running through the scrub to meet her lover?

What has love to barter with against the considerations of a ultra-modern, materialist lifestyle?

Who needs or wants it?

Where to for the Catherines and Heathcliffs of our post-modern world? The Romeos and Juliets? That younger you or I? In a world of “Celebrity Meet-n-Marry” Bachelor/ette on the wide-screen plasma TVs, or type-face to type-face on some Tinder app on the mobile phone? There would appear to be little taste for chance and that “love at first sight” infatuation, let alone to go rushing off to another’s arms “bare-footed and open-hearted”.

So what has become of us that we have grown so cynical and hard of heart? I have heard some state quite categorically that having found “contentment with their choice” (of “partner”), they would rather all people now ignore the fact even of their obvious gender … a seeking of the invisible … beyond either desire from others or (perhaps?) the temptation of themselves for another. Our sophistication has made us feel secure in our pride of conquest over even our sensual emotions to a point where some seek psychological emasculation of any sexual hunger … a ultra modern world of J. Alfred Prufrock:

“The unpleasant modern world is where “Prufrock” begins. Prufrock, much like da Montefeltro in The Inferno, is confined to Hell; Prufrock’s, however, is on earth, in a lonely, alienating city. The images of the city are sterile and deathly; the night sky looks “Like a patient etherized upon a table” , while down below barren “half-deserted streets” reveal “one-night cheap hotels / And sawdust restaurants” . The use of enjambment, the running over of lines, further conveys the labyrinthine spatiality of the city. Although Eliot does not explore the sterility of the modern world as deeply here as he does in “The Wasteland” (1922), the images are undeniably bleak and empty.”

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (T. S. Eliot):

“Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky,
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question . . .
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

(More here.)

Do we seek love or social redress for perceived distress .. is there justice for the bereaved or the deceived? Perhaps today’s love can be measured in the many brilliant facets of an engagement ring diamond, or the number of ensuites in a split-level estate house within a gated community … but does it “sing” … does it sing like the lover’s hearts when again they meet?

I think we make a grave mistake going down the path of blaming and accusing either gender of exacerbating aggression and violence in male / female relationships.
Certainly men are the more violent and certainly men have fallen further into the abyss of loss of self-esteem in both work identity and family support capability … with both parties in the relationship now needing to hold down two and sometimes more jobs to pay the bills … and there may be the answer to this hardening of the hearts. There may be the enemy who is obvious but cannot be seen, is both instigator and saviour, provocateur and provider: The Capital Economy.

Speaking as the author, husband (I unashamedly confess to loathing the expression “Partner”! … it reminds me too much of Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin.) and father and as a man, I have to ask; “What the hell is expected of us? Are we to remake ourselves in an image manufactured on a screen-printer’s design sheet … according to a psychologist’s “balanced structure”? … some sort of “metro-man”, David Beckham look-alike that acts like a sculptured Svengali off the back-page of a woman’s magazine … the photo-shopped perfect image of “everyman gigolo” with just the right balance of money, muscle, a simpering gaze with tender intent … a designers delight … with that one failing … that many male models that cultivate such a persona have a preference for their own perfected gender?

We all fail the perfection test … that marketeer’s yardstick that seems to have grabbed the imagination of a whole generation and demands adherence from both genders to a physique, financial position and psychology absolute that is impossible to satisfy … resulting in the social chaos we hear about everyday in the news columns and airwaves. And I have to confess that it is the men who are most losing the plot on this platform of perfection … our masculinity being converted to a kind of perfumery of scents and washes that have debased our manhood and turned us into satyrs and sadists … our capacity of once serious working men of skill and calibre turned with this so-called “gig-economy” into part-time pantomime producers of silly bibs and bobs in jobs not worth a sphincter full of snow!

And they wonder why we go spare! This is no argument between the rights of the genders, that is a secondary problem … the male argument is between ourselves and the managers of capital. Thankfully, I am of an age where I no longer have to fight mammon for my measly mouthful … but I still recall those days when a full-time job was shared with working till dark – and beyond – hand-building the family home … homes … then making my way back to a rented house to attend to the fatherly/husbandly duties … but feeling that nice, tired feeling of self-respect for doing what needed to be done even with a worker’s wage. But now I see this younger generation being manipulated in and out of crappy jobs with piss-weak pay and conditions and no hope of creating that “family environment” around either themselves, their loved ones or the community … A lost generation.

And it is not just us men who will lose it. Women, ask yourself this: Do you think, after the men have been milked to the last drop of their blood and those commodifiers have finished with us … you will be spared? Not a bloody hope!

Our hearts hollowed out like a gouged stone.

And they wonder why they go spare?

“I grow old … I grow old …
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.
Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.
We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown,
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.“

(The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock)

Cheeriozy!

Got talking to Pete last Friday down the local … the subject got onto the passing of one’s parents … I s’pose because we are both old now ourselves and it comes as no longer an immediate sorrow, but rather one lived through so many years ago … And we got onto the reactions one experiences at the funeral, what with all the rellies gathered there and the friends and some strangers one doesn’t know but is informed in hushed whispers or so later on. There is that bottled-up grief, that reserve in the English tradition, especially amongst the men to not be seen to blubber or weep uncontrollably at such sad gatherings … and the language used is interesting in its sparsity of emotion …

Then Pete took a sup on his beer, reflected a tad, wiped the beads of condensation from one streak on the glass, looked into the distance and made a motion with his pointed finger …

“But I do remember one chap I worked for, a builder in the financing / speculative line … stiff-upperlip sort of bloke … John M’ … old Adelaide family, that sort of thing. You couldn’t get an emotive comment from him if’n you smacked his thumb with a hammer … which I did once – accidently – as he was holding a length of bracing for me … hopeless at physical work … all thumbs … an’ I hit his thumb and you know what he said? Where you or I would’ve swore blue murder, he just spun away (dropped the prop!), cried; “bother!” … and stuck the thumb in his mouth for a second to comfort the pain … that’s the sort of chap he was … ”old school Oxford” …

The job was winding down, the contract reaching near completion so there were only a couple of trades finishing some final touches to the ground-works and I was there as supervisor of the job from go to whoa. That was when John turned up. He was walking the site by himself, looking like he was inspecting the finished job … not his usual occupation … he usually waited for the handing-over ceremony for that sort of thing … but there he was. Now .. I knew he had been to his Mother’s funeral the day before, and I put his meandering down to a listlessness that one gets when first “orphaned” … that ”you’re on your own now” feeling … so to say. But I was surprised when he pulled up a drum to sit on and joined me and Keith the plumber for smoko …

John was the project builder … a developer rather than an actual builder … not your sort of tradie-evolved into builder, but a bloke from an old family with old money involved in multi-faceted projects, of which building was but one. I was his go-to man for building … I was the “knowledge-base” for that side of his investments. He would leave on-site management to me … and that included timetables, subbie hire and materials delivery scheduling. We had worked together for years, but not in a close familiar way … I was still just the “hired help” … just a business sort of thing … so it was quite surprising when he opened the conversation with the announcement that he had just buried his mother. Of course Keith (another long-server) and I both knew this, but we gave our condolences kindly and fairly … we had no gripe with the man or his family. He thanked us and then after the usual quiet on these occasions, he cleared his throat and spoke in a confiding manner … to neither of us in particular, but rather while looking at the ground somewhere between us.

“You know, it’s a funny thing, language … the expression of certain words. I have been to the best schools and university where language is treated as a sacred thing … the pronunciation, the grammar, even the timing of delivery of thought or repost … how to speak and speech, you could say … ”

John went quiet while he reached to pick up a twig which he used to scribble on the ground by his feet ..

“I gave the eulogy at my mother’s funeral yesterday.” He continued, ”All the usual blather and history … all about the family, her work in the district and committees she was on and such like … all written there on my notes, some highlighted in yellow marker … it went over well … as I was trained to do … a solemn finish before we all made our way to the cemetery for the placing of the casket.”

John drew some hieroglyphics in the dust as he thought it out a bit. I could see all this idle chatter was taking its toll on the man … but he was on a mission to explain something to himself, I felt. We remained silent … to give him space.

He continued with a sudden exclamation …

”Dammit!  You have to hold yourself together at these … these events. It doesn’t do to make a fool of oneself weeping and carrying on … one must maintain structure … dignity. After all, it wasn’t as if my mother’s passing was a sudden tragedy … it was a long tiring business for all the family … a kindly relief for all when she passed away, to be candidly honest … for her most particularly, I’d say … so it was .. should have been a solemn, dignified affair … the placing of the casket in the grave. Except for Loretta.” John stabbed the stick into the earth .

“Loretta?” Keith encouraged …

” Loretta,” John breathed. “Yes, Loretta … an Italian woman, the wife of one of the nephews … lovely woman, in the Italian dark-lady of the sonnets mould … if you know what I mean. It was quite a surprise for the family when the nephew returns from a working stint on the continent with an Italian wife … shocked! … you could say … a real eyebrow raiser, the whole affair. But they settled down and had a couple of kiddies and got on with the married life routine … but dammit … she’s got that dago emotion thing in spades … weeping all over the place, at weddings and Christenings and such like … so she had to almost be dragged from the grave before she threw herself in it on top of the coffin … damn display to say the least!”

And here was the long silence .. .here was the nub of the new “congenial John” .. here he became uncomfortable …

”You know, one has to hold oneself together as an example for the younger ones … it doesn’t do to put on too much display … and … and I was there beside Father O’Loughlin as he read the rites and the coffin was lowered down. Certainly, I had some tears to shed, but held in check for the dignity of the moment … but I could hear Loretta wailing somewhere behind me … and I thought I would give her husband a bit of a talking to after the funeral … at the wake. But as we stepped back from the grave to let the mourners file past to throw the bit of dirt onto the laid coffin, that damn Italian woman suddenly called out a word in perfect imitation of our mother’s voice … here was this woman … who could only speak a kind of garbled mish-mash of Italo-English saying in perfect enunciation that one word so familiar to all of mother’s children and grandchildren … and by time-lapsed, especially to me.”

“You see,” John continued in a kind of self-reflection tone, ”Mum was a country girl and she had an infuriating habit of “cutesying” words by adding an “ee” sounding to the end … like “bunnee” instead of rabbit. She’d say; “Oh we’re having a couple of bunnys for dinner … ” and one really infuriating one she’d say when I was a young tear-away, home from the college with a friend or two and we’d been ripping it up a tad at a local dance and in the morning she’d wake us with a much too cheerful; “Come on, boys up we get … I’ll make you some bacon and eggys for breaky.” It used to so infuriate me … and here we were at the final lap so to speak of the funeral, and I had held myself together so well and then that weeping Italian woman has to drop that bombshell that took me by complete surprise and … and … well … ” John threw the twig over his shoulder … “I lost it … I just lost it. Loretta just halted right next to me, looked directly at me in a flood of tears, then to the coffin in the grave and wept out a string of damn indecipherable dago words to finish with that one perfectly enunciated damn softly spoken parting word Mother always called to us as we left her home; ”Cheeriozy!” That one silly, muck-up of a perfectly good, common English word …

“Cheeriozy! … cheeriozy! … ”

Loretta called out and I just lost it and I wept and wept … and I still can’t get over it … And I don’t know why!”

Then John abruptly stood up, turned around and left … without a word, but we could see the tears …

Of course, neither Keith nor I ever mentioned it again.

The Language of the Left

It has moved, this language of the left-wing. It no longer holds court as the gobbledygook plaything of the cognoscenti or aficionados of that ‘higher plane” of intellectual lament of the “Intellectual Left”. No longer seen as exclusive to those of “good education” and “polite society” … It too is in rebellion and it is striking out to street-level conversation, street-level politics and discourse … It is getting dirty and mean and full of fight. The language of the Left is once again the language of rebellion!

No longer the staid, predictable “classicism” of well-chosen elocution and “grammar-corrected” syntax. The language of the Left is going “vulgar” … as are the “children of the left-wing” … no longer relying on text-book example, these new revolutionaries are “living the experience” of student poverty, casual-no-conditions-open-employment, out-of-reach housing and rent, no credit available or no reliable employment history or future, health, education, childcare and violence! And now into the dangers of inaction on climate change … These are the basic building blocks of the language of the Left … these are the basic necessities of a decent society.

This has happened before in history … a swing away from what was seen as the exclusive property of the upper middle-classes … those who claimed by right of exclusive education the podium of restraining rhetoric. Always ready with the glib word or sentence to take command of the radical mood … to “throw oil on troubled waters” … always the plea for calm tempers … always “tomorrow”, they say, “Domani! Domani!” .. tomorrow, tomorrow! Always there to hold at bay the common people’s clenched fist o.f anger … svelte, persuasive and calming … the drug of “Soma” to a people outraged … ”The sensible centre” they call! … in effect working for that same end as those of the extreme right-wing who would extract the very life-blood from the vulnerable … the pause in reaction time enough for a quick shift in policy by the conservatives that halts the “crossing of the line” by a vengeful citizen body … allowing both parties, the centre-left and the centre-right to go together to their exclusive clubs and drink their expensive wine, slap each other on the back and give a low whistle of thanks for a politically dangerous moment diffused.

But no more!

No more hiding behind or giving preference to the “consciousness of kind” confederation of the middle-class rulers … When the producers of all they claim right to possess, be it wealth, prestige, power, security … is no more than what we … the producers of society; the working people / farmers / engineers / health professionals and tradespeople … make for and supply to them … they are nothing without us … nothing! But we would not even miss their persons or their hustling and swindling for more than a day … just one day … to realign our lives … to adjust to a new system.

Time to skim the scum off the top of society.

The language of the Left is being spoken by the Unions … by the casual conversations among those most affected by the cuts and cruelty of conservative politics. It is being interpreted into the many tongues of this multi-cultural country … No longer just English as a mother tongue, it is the common language of those who know when they are being done over, bullied, sold-out, demonised and abused. This language of the Left needs no grammatical purity, it is cleansed by the wash of brevity of message, the shout of demand for fair treatment, it is purified by the air of honesty and honourable intent. The language of the Left is a rich vein of revolutionary elocution and vernacular under stood by every worker in every native tongue at any time in history on this Earth. The language of the Left is the language of rebellion against poverty and corruption, against unfair work practices and conditions … against that corrupt lobby that will not act to protect our children’s future against an extreme climate change … The language of the Left is the crying torrent of a wild-river from the people!

“Change the rules!” is the cry in the streets from the union members and marchers … and I say over and over; “Change the rules / Change the ruling class!” … because it is no use just replacing one set of private-schooled right-wing elites with another set of the private-schooled intellectual-left … They are too closely affiliated, too closely nurtured under the same Latin-logo’d portico … too chummy by half and we have seen too many times those highly educated “left-politicians” retire to a well-paid sinecure with some multi-national corporation that works against the interests of the producing classes!

Change is a natural evolution against stagnation … does not a flood cleanse the stagnant ponds from a dead river? It is a demand for the status quo to remain in situ that causes corruption …

So to change the rules, we must change the ruling class … It must be done … We can no longer afford – literally – to defer management and control to that class just because they have a broader or more expansive vocabulary and network of intrigue. There are enough of the producing class now with tertiary qualifications who can both understand and speak for their own people and rule the nation.

Of course there will be those who will wave away such concerns as I raise here … after all, it is they who will lose … they, who for many years have been claiming as our representative, the rewards in both kudos and political position that our power of the vote has given them … and yet, here we are in the twenty-first century … still in poverty, still fighting for even a modicum of rights and services that is due to the most destitute of our class. Here we are still marching in the streets trying to get a fair deal for the young, vulnerable and the unemployed against a mob of thieving, ruthless bastards that want the right to wallow in unlimited wealth and luxury while there are so many without either home or secure job and on a miser’s wage and we see the natural world collapsing around our ears.

No … no more … The language of the Left is changing and it is being “owned” by a new generation that is unafraid to lift the banner and hold the lines for fair wages and conditions … respect in both home and workplace … and security of employment and a chance to own their own home if they so desire.

Really … It’s not that much to ask … and seriously, do we have any choice?

Passwords

Not long before my mother passed away, she was given a smartphone by her children so as to be ready reachable and in case of emergency …we paid the connection fees etc … all she had to do was sign on.

Of course, signing on to such services has a security obligation and so one is called upon to use identity clues for a secure connection … clues that no other person will know. But being older, she knew from experience that she had best write those clues down just in case she would be called upon to repeat them verbatim at some future time.

So there, under the lid of the box the smartphone came in was a slip of paper with three items that were the answers to three obvious requests from the service provider:

My first pet: ‘Taby’.”

“I was called: ‘ Peggy’ when young.”

”My parents met in the city of: Sydney.”

These three little insights into a past life give clue to the gentle humanity of us all … little “songs” shall we say, of those moments that are held softly and secretly within our hearts, like a faded flower holding a special memory, pressed between the pages of an old novel. Strange then, that we will share them with an anonymous machine without compunction, yet not be inclined to freely reveal such to other people. Perhaps it is that machine-like anonymity that reassures us … some people seem to have that same encouraging “feel” whereupon you can unload worries or confidences into a sensitive ear.

This, to my way of thinking is a failing of history … of our local history, where incidents and events are recorded minutely in committee records and local government archives etc … but where are the personal names? Where are the identities that these events centred around? Who were these people who marched down the street of the town on such and such celebration day? What was the fate of the person whose car or buggy or person was crashed and injured in industrial accident or fall? Who were all these people who marched through time with neither personality or history? Are we all to be slaves to opaque anonymity? Where is the colour in the canvas .. the eyes that are the mirrors to so many souls?

I recall perusing through some archived photographs of a local town’s German school from the 1930’s. There were the usual gathering of kids ranging from around fourteen/fifteen down to seven or eight years, their beaming faces giving lie to their shoe-less poverty … but then I noticed in the second row, in the shadow of one of the many Sagenschnitter brood, a dark-skinned boy of around (at a guess) ten years. I enlarged the photo on my computer and sure enough, there he was … an Indigenous child amongst the twenty or so German kids. What was he doing there? After all, in those times many of those children only knew English as a second language.

Fortunately his name was recorded along with all the others in handwritten script under the photo and with a degree of complicated research, I eventually found the solution to the conundrum. He was one of the Stolen Generation … placed in care as a ward of the State in 1921 from the tender age of two years for being “illegitimate” … and I learned from local sources that some Indigenous children were placed in these country centres far away from their original place of birth as a “subsidy placement” (whatever that means) with suitable families. But whatever the suitability of the family who took this boy in, it was recorded that he escaped their care and eventually made his way under several different names to Mildura where he died suddenly in 1936 – aged 15 – under suspicious circumstances from Strychnine poison. The history of this lad’s fore-shortened stay on this earth would have gone un-collated save through police and one paragraph newspaper notification and indeed, because the death was in another state from the one he was registered in, no enquiry was conducted and he would have been totally forgotten … but for this accidental notice of a different ethnicity amongst all those Germanic children. And what also of his mother and relatives in this entire sorry affair? That is the chance of history.

And what chance for many others, identities forgotten in the steamrolling onslaught of capitalist production, so many heaped together in congested tenements and desperate lodgings so that even in old age we become just another commodity of “cost per unit” in an aged “care” investment property portfolio … as has been recently aired on the ABC with the closure of the Gatwick Hotel and the subsequent disasters for some of the tenants who resided there?

Here is the link to a short story about this very subject by Lajos Zilahy; But for this.

Is this the universal fate for those without funds or favour in the wider community? Lost in the sands of time … to have any memory of their personal idiosyncratic character die along with the last one who has a direct knowledge of them at all … with perhaps nothing left on record save those “personal security identities” clinically saved on some sort of android device … a history condensed to three passwords … three little moments of one’s personal identity … a soul incomplete.

We are all humans in a humanist society … and we should not think nor treat others as a capitalist commodity.

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Joyce delivers the flowers

(I can see youse all need a bit of cheering up … tempers flaring an’ all that … )

“Joyce Hartingdale … Secretary”. The writing on the triangular wedge of wood prominent at the front of her desk was written in bright, gold paint. It was there the first day she came to the job at the office situated at the front of the “Shoebridge Furniture Factory”. A job she had come all the way from Manchester, England for … well … it was not just the job, but she had applied for the secretarial job while home in England, fresh graduated from the secretarial college where she had seen the advertisement seeking young ladies to come to the Australian colonies for a bright, fresh life … or at least that is how Joyce saw it … and she took it.

The telegram from her mother back in Manchester sat on the passenger’s seat of the Morris Minor 1000 sedan she was at that very moment driving out to the country town of Kanmantoo so as to attend the funeral of an obscure uncle who had just passed away.

“Uncle Stan has died” the telegram started, “funeral at Kanmantoo C of E 1pm. Fri. Chance meet family … go!” … and it was signed: “Mother”.

Joyce, having no friends before she came to this new country, was keen to make contact with those distant relatives her mother had told her lived in the country there … and what better way to introduce oneself than at a funeral. She had her Mother’s telegram handy as a note of introduction when she arrived at the church.

It was nice of Mr. Shoebridge to allow her the day off to attend the funeral, and considering that she had only been employed for one month, it gave credibility to how high her secretarial skills were held in the office. In fact, the whole experience of her new life in the Antipodes was working out just fine … the weather was much to her liking, the job was a breeze – considering her long years spent in training in the cold corridors of the Manchester college – and her flat in the western suburbs by the sea was so comfortable with its own little patch of garden that she had every intention of planting out with her favourite flowers just as soon as time allowed.

It was the thought of that flower garden that brought her thoughts right down to earth with a crash!

“Flowers!” she exclaimed out loud … “I haven’t brought any flowers!”

The suddenness of the arrangement for attending the funeral, the buying of clothes and instructions of how to get to Kanmantoo from the kindly young man next door threw Joyce’s thoughts for flowers right out the window. Now here she was, out in the countryside, barely a few miles from her destination and only now has she thought of flowers … What could she do?

Fate, at this desperate time had smiled upon Joyce, she decided, for there, not one yard from the verge of the road, was a veritable paddock full to the wire fence of the most brilliant, beautiful purple flowers, resplendent in their colourful, healthy bloom ..

“They must be a native species,” Joyce concluded as she pulled to the side of the road, for she had never seen such resplendent flowers before. She gathered a bouquet of these blossoms before she threw caution to the winds and gathered a large number more …

“Why not?” she reasoned, “be generous.” And she rummaged for a slip of ribbon in the glove-box and tied the volume of flowers into the most bright, fulsome bouquet. “This’ll make a splash!” she pouted in satisfaction … and though she could not add a card of identification of the gift of the flowers, she consoled herself that it would take little effort to enlighten anyone who asked.

Upon arrival at the Church of England chapel, Joyce was obliged to find a park away from the gathering at the front and park the car around the side of the little church. It was apparent from the glimpse she saw of the minister at the door, there was intent to soon start the entrance to the ceremony. Hurrying out of the car with her huge bouquet, Joyce saw the side door to the church ajar and peeking in, saw the coffin on the bier with many bouquets of flowers on top … she quickly slipped into the empty church and placed her bright purple fronds amongst the dahlias and gladiolas and other blooms there, snuggling her generous purple bunch right on top in the middle. Satisfying herself the bunch was secure, she hurriedly slipped out and made her way around to the front of the church to try and meet some of the other mourners there.

As Joyce made her way around to the front of the church, she couldn’t help but notice here and there along the fence-line of the church yard, those very same flowers that she had gathered into her bouquet and placed on top of the coffin and she was wondering if she had been a tad overzealous in her gathering so many into a bunch …

“Coals to Newcastle,” she pondered …

Joyce moved close to a couple and smiled … they smiled back … and she just coyly introduced herself as “Joyce” … a distant relative … a niece. The couple smiled again. Then Joyce tried to break the ice a bit with some light conversation about the purple flowers along the fence-line.

“Those purple flowers are quite pretty now, aren’t they?”

“The Salvation Jane?” … the lady replied.

“Oh … is that their name? I … I didn’t know … from the city, you see … ” and she smiled her secretarial smile. “A lovely name … most suitable to the occasion, one might say.”

“Hrumph!” the lady snorted. “Good job old Stan is no longer around to hear you say that! ‘Patterson’s curse’ he called ‘em … a blight on the district!”

“Oh … they troubled him? Was it hayfever?” Joyce inquired.

“Hayfever!?” … the lady pulled her shoulders back, “hardly … you mustn’t know what old Stanley Knowles did for a living all these last twenty five years … he were the council weeds and pests control officer … it were his life’s ambition to rid the district of them purple curse!”

“But they are everywhere … ” Joyce quietly exclaimed. “He hardly was a success story then.”

“You can blame that on those lot over there,” the lady motioned to a group apart.

“And they are?” Joyce now wide-eyed asked.

“The local Bee-Keepers and Honey Distillers Cooperative … Every time Stan pushed for greater effort and funding to really get stuck into the Patterson’s Curse problem, they’d come out swingin’ .. ’cause they depended on the flowers in any off-season and drought. But they weren’t deep enemies for all that and now they come to pay their respect … as neighbours do.”

An awful realisation of doom was starting to descend upon Joyce and she was almost at the point of making a dash around to the side door of the church to remove her bouquet from the coffin when the minister made a call for the friends of Stanley Knowles to come gather inside the church for the service.

It only took a little while as the congregation settled into the rows of pews in the chapel that someone noticed Joyce’s bunch of Salvation Jane (Patterson’s Curse) sitting proud as punch on the very top of the collection of funeral wreaths and bouquets on the coffin of the local council’s recently deceased weeds and pest control officer. Things moved pretty fast from that moment on.

A cry of exclamation heralded up to the rafters and it took only a little guess before the obvious conclusion for this gross insult upon a dead man’s reputation was laid upon the shoulders of the Bee-Keepers and Honey Distillers Cooperative and the rest, as is so often recorded in moments of public disorder where accusation and abuse colours what should be a sombre celebration … is history.

Joyce did not wait to see the outcome of the fracas, but at the first cry of outrage, she deftly slipped out of the chapel doors and hastily making her way to the trusty Morris Minor 1000, she was already in third gear as she shot out of the gate onto the main road back to the city. The introduction to the country cousins would have to wait till another day.

The Hungry Womb

With the title of this piece, you would be forgiven for thinking it is just another article about women and women’s business from just another man.

But it is not just about women … or men … it is about us … our relationship to each other … our individual gendered relationship to each other and the social and personal begetting of children.

Of course, the mention of ‘womb’ in the title gives clue to where this panegyric to male/female relationships must start … after all, all human life is first nurtured in a womb and it is that womb that gives shelter, food and bodily contact between new life and the ancient procedure of motherhood and fatherhood.

Times change, and with that change comes a differing interpretation and attitude to the idea of relationships and the begetting of children … The expectations of differing shifts in economic circumstances of women, of social status and generational ideals all impinge on this or that generation of child-bearing age women to want to be encumbered with the responsibility of child-rearing … and then too, and just as important, is the male father’s responsibility to provide for the family when the mother is in these most vulnerable times.

Now, that places the basic social structures on the table: Woman, man, relationship, child, responsibility, family. But it no longer has to work like this … social structures in these times allow separation of those essential ingredients of what was once considered the necessities of societus familius into units of consideration, ie: A woman no longer needs a secure relationship with a man to have a child without social condemnation. There need be no continuity of relationship to raise the child as a single mother/father. The child need feel no material disadvantage in being raised by the one parent and the ideal of “Family” has long since been retired to an almost anachronistic irrelevance. Of course, there are variables and exceptions taken to such situations depending upon culture and ethnic group … But all in all, in this country it is feasible to do those things just mentioned … and a very many do.

But what of this idea of “The Hungry Womb” … That maternal instinct for a child that can over-ride every social and physical hurdle in its pursuit for impregnation and childbirth?

And this is not just a female thing. Many men are driven by either instinctive lascivious desire, personal want, familial demands and/or genetic lineage considerations to reproduce “one of their own”. We have seen forced rapes, artificial insemination, surrogacy and trickery used to achieve such ends depending on the brutality or wealth of the male involved. On the other hand, we have seen allurement, sexual seduction, trickery, all the above save brutal rape and even that old standby: cuckoldry used if or when a woman feels the need to fill a hungry womb.

But in this day and society, is there even such a thing as the mythical “hungry womb” anymore?

This article; How People Decide Whether to Have Children poses that question here:

“Isabel Caliva and her husband, Frank, had already “kicked the can down the road.” The can, in their case, was the kid conversation; the road was Caliva’s fertile years. Frank had always said he wanted lots of kids. Caliva, who was in her early 30s, thought maybe one or two would be nice, but she was mostly undecided. They had a nice life, with plenty of free time that allowed for trips to Portugal, Paris, and Hawaii.

“I wasn’t feeling the pull the same way my friends were describing,” she told me recently. “I thought, maybe this isn’t gonna be the thing for me. Maybe it’s just going to be the two of us.”

At times, she wondered if her lack of baby fever should be cause for concern. She took her worries to the Internet, where she came across a post on the Rumpus’ “Dear Sugar” advice column titled, “The Ghost Ship that Didn’t Carry Us.” The letter was from a 41-year-old man who was also on the fence about kids: “Things like quiet, free time, spontaneous travel, pockets of non-obligation,” he wrote. “I really value them.”

Cheryl Strayed, the author of the column, wrote back that each person has a life and a “sister life” they’ll never know—the “ghost ship” of the title. “The clear desire for a baby isn’t an accurate gauge for you,” she wrote. Instead, she recommended “thinking deeply about your choices and actions from the stance of your future self.” In other words, think about what you’ll regret later.

“The Rumpus post helped me understand that no matter what I chose, there was going to be a loss,” Caliva said. Her ghost ship would either be a carefree life or the experience of parenthood. “That was freeing. It changed my perspective from having to make the right choice to just deciding.”

This “choice” is the reward of the success of a “world of individualist consideration” … a world where perhaps only the essential “I“ matters. A world where one does not need to consider social force, familial obligations, economic deprivation or anything other than “self”. Can this be the Utopia that we, as a people hungered for? The ; “I feel, therefore I will!” proof of existence?

On top of this securing of individualism in choice of lifestyle, we now have the added luxury of choice of gender association … and with a kind of dualism chasm opening up between the sexes, along with the violence and aggression, there would seem to be a determination to reduce contact to a minimal, safety guaranteed all-inclusive package of style, physical looks, career status and STD-free nights at some security enclosed club via a swipe left or right on a social connection app.

Why worry about sex-bots becoming the norm … they already are!

Far cry are we from the days of male/female lust-thrust-trust relationships based on social demands and life or death situations … the whole damn thing was such a risk factor that one has to wonder how the Earth got so many people on it at all! … which brings us back to “The Hungry Womb” …

I recently posted a short story on this site; Write again, Blue Eyes, where a woman desiring children who suspects her husband as being infertile, uses the miscellaneous columns of a newspaper to “procure” a unwitting “sperm donor” to have her children .. she first asks for a picture to ascertain whether there is close approximation in physical comparison to her own husband before following through with the desired procedure. This is no novel idea … in fact it could be called a legitimate imperative if a woman so desires a thing fulfilled … it has been going on since the beginnings of time itself … as statistics and DNA test proved what was already unspoken but known … (and I might suggest; known by many “fathers”) that between 5 – 30% (in extreme cases in a village in England) of babies cannot claim the paternal link shown on the birth certificate

And so it should and must be … women’s right to children have to be held as a – priori consideration. Sadly, humanity fails again and again to place the ideal of relationship at the centre of stable society and the antagonistic division between the sexes seems to be getting wider and wider so that the totally bizarre consideration of sexual robots are even being considered as “normal”! I can recall a time when myself and my friends of either gender went out of our way both in sartorial splendour and economic devastation to seek out relationships no matter the time or distance travelled to achieve such and considered ourselves lacking in the essential emotional ingredients of life if we didn’t find it! Now it seems the opposite, where more consideration is given to securing a good financial opportunity for a mortgage on a splendid house in a respected suburb!

Perhaps it is a generational thing.

The mechanical foundations of a Theory of Logical Truth

Back in my frivolous days of attending a course on Archaeology as part of the Classics curriculum in a mature entry course at a local university, we – the class – were confronted with pictures of ancient Roman structures that included several strata of long retaining walls made up of medium-sized stones of uniform pattern. The lecturer, under questioning from the largely young audience wistfully explained that no, there being no exact records extant on how hard individual slaves were worked per day on these projects, we had no way of knowing how long many of these walls took to complete.

At this point I felt it legitimate for myself to intervene … armed with my personal knowledge of building structure in all forms of material … I could explain that given that the physical weight of one kilogram of stone in those times would – in essence – weigh the same as a kilogram now … the shifting of one ton of stone then would take that same average time of one ton now … a measurement I could easily calculate from my own experience. And … given that we can see that the pattern of stone-work on the lower retaining walls differed from the pattern of the repeated retaining walls above … we can conclude that the above wall was completed by a different hand … and given that the known practice of those ancient times was that the sons of the tradesman father were compelled by law to follow in the trade:skills footsteps of the father, it must have been a difference of at least one generation between the construct of the lower to the higher walls.

This can be easily proven in these modern times by observation. The example I use is the panels of stone walls there as you come to the bottom of the Sth Eastern Freeway in Sth Aust’ there at the junction of roads outside St Pauls Retreat at Glen Osmond Road.

These panels of free-stone wall were built by one stone-masonry gang a number of years ago … the whole length and each section of stone wall matched the next in both size of stones selected and pattern of stone-laying … what is called the “stonemason’s fingerprint”, for each mason, having a different eye and hand, selects that size stone most favourable to his want … of, in the case of a large contingent of labourers, the stone is selected by the head mason to his own criteria of taste. But at some years after the completion of that wall, a truck crashed through a section, requiring replacement of the damaged section and you can see that it was a different “hand” that built the replaced section, the stone-work being a tad “busier” that the neighbouring panels … a different hand, a different pattern.

And there was the first inklings of the awakening in my own mind of using “Logical Truth” to fill in the gaps between recorded knowledge and existing reality.

Of course, the brief overview I give above has many more experience-related facts behind my “awakening”, but space and the reader’s patience forbids … we know you all like to skim.

So let us give every-day example of the reasoning behind my variation of the logic in “Logical Truth”:

Here in front of us sits a loaf of bread. Just your standard loaf in the accepted Australian ideal of a loaf of bread … It is real … we see it, we smell it, we touch it … and leaving aside all those fantasies of existentialism etc., … it is a loaf of bread.

Now beyond the crust of this loaf, there has to have been a collation of both ingredients and activity unseen in the completed loaf … unseen but absolutely essential to the finished product … so we have a beginning and a middle section missing from the picture. Here, a history of both procedure and experience of knowledge of construct come into play. We have recorded history of what is required to make a loaf of bread … we know of the ingredients, we know the measurements, we know the heat and time needed to make the loaf and in many cases personal experience fills in the time-lapse between activity and consumption of the finished product.

And it is a similar, though admittedly more complex sequence of events that can “fill in the gaps” in any span between first knowledge … like those pics of retaining walls in ancient Rome … and final conclusion … like the finished loaf of bread.

So if we extrapolate this theory onto the debate of a sequence of events argued over Indigenous habitation, activity, art, hunting grounds and cultural and language diversity, we can with accrued knowledge of pertinent points in between the earliest, middle (for ease of explanation) and contemporary occupation, fill in the dots with logic and reasoning that this series of events pre-that series of events warrants a certain set of logically imperative events to have happened in between time … the same as any descent through historical time. Sure, there may be argument as to what exact date this or that event exactly took place, but if the pre-existing and post-existing evidence is correctly dated, then a certain set of circumstances must have happened! … and those set of circumstances, like the adding of ingredients before the rising and kneading of the dough and before the cooking time of the loaf of bread … or whatever … must follow … must follow one on from the other.

So there is my theory of the “Mechanical Foundations of Logical Truth” … now go on … tear it apart … after all, it’s logical that since doubt always follows after announcement … you will want to. You will want to … but logical truth tells me that since we are in the here and now of the moment; I … giving announcement and you voicing doubt, a sequence of logical truth will prove me correct! 🙂

The wealth gatherers

Who are this one per cent? … These creatures of our societies who have gathered about their person’s wealth so immense to be able to claim ownership of a commodity so out of proportion to need or necessity so that it is said that their number of one per cent holds as much possession in their hands as the poorer 50 per cent of humanity .

But what is the measure of “wealth”? How does one put a value on such an amorphous title? Sure, the material possessions of a person could be held up as proof of status, but held up against what … a lack of possessions of a poor person? But that is all it is, isn’t it? Wealth, as a thing considered measurable can only be valued in comparison to those who lack it. A good apple is held up and measured in quality against a bad apple … as is a solid building structure measured against a lesser structure … I don’t think I need extrapolate any further on the logic … enough to validate that “wealth” can only be measured in value when held in comparison to those who are impoverished.

However, it must be appreciated that while comparisons between similar produce, livestock or, say, rivers in the natural world can be measured against each other with statistical or health/consumerable qualities obvious to the eye, taste or physical livability, wealth must be held up as comparison to what? … The obvious answer to that query is poverty … and if the only way to claim “high status” of social position of ones person using such a measurement so as to obtain and hold influence of power, then it is also obvious that wealth must create and maintain that level of poverty for which it can be measured against.

Ergo: Wealth does not rise from poverty, wealth creates poverty so as to look down upon it as a measure of its own status.

Wealth is a “commodity” that cannot exist in isolation … what value a gold coin or a jewelled amulet on a desert island? Wealth must buy and it must be seen as a recognised value to be able to command price. The old “rags to riches” story is misplaced, for no wealth can be gathered without scraping shavings from an already established store of any such horde in any community … More correct would it be to say “rags to plunder” or “rags to rapine” to give it poetic licence! For the person who would, either with opportune cunning or rapacious callousness want to collect about themselves that which is the property of the whole community and then to exhibit such opulence in ostentatious display for no other reason but to elevate their own tragic and lacking personality above their equals is no more than a gauche pastiche of all that is wrong with human endeavour … for even in the case of “honest entrepreneurship” , where singular innovation and inventiveness of an individual gives both advantage to the community, and a modicum of wealth to the innovator … is not such insight a gift to the innovator from his environment … his community? … Surely in the nurturing of the individual within the community, from a babe in arms to responsible adult, is not all that which finds its way to the inner personality and intellect of the individual no more than that which is already in existence … albeit perhaps not obvious to the masses … in the world about them, as either conflicting opposites or colluding opportunity?

Once we could read of certain wealthy persons as “millionaires” … such a level of wealth was enough to conjure up pictures of exclusive opulence … Now, billionaires are the measure of such “respectable wealth” … soon, no doubt is the title of trillionaire to be aspired to. Such wealth accumulated must by necessity be guarded … either by raw armed strength or by political protection. Once those with extreme riches would have a private army maintained for such … The establishment of the Nation State secured for all the community via a national defence force and a sub-branch civilian policing arm, protection against blatant robbery of private property.

However, the rise of the number of wealthy families showing disdain on the poorer masses gave occasional reason for revolt against such decadence that resulted in many of the rich being grossly executed in public displays of blood-revenge that horrified both sections of those demographics … the rich, because of the fear of violent death, the poor because of the level of blood-thirstiness to which they had sunk … So a system of “safety-net” welfare was instigated to both give relief to the impoverished to exist with a modicum of dignity, and for the wealthy to go about their “business” without fear of the vengeful masses. This agreeable state existed and should exist while stable State Governance exists.

What we are seeing now however, is perhaps the first signs of the super wealthy becoming active, not just in a political sense to steer the ship of State in a direction most suitable to their means, but having reached a stage of “maximum saturation” of the limits of wealth accumulation outside of Nation State regulated control, they are using their immense wealth to buy influence or use existing ownership influence of media communications to not only lobby for political outcomes, but to actually use those politicians they have command over to pass legislation or simply to kill-off regulation or to sell-off State owned utilities and social welfare bodies so as to limit that same State control over their means of accumulating even more wealth and power … by forcing people whose wages and living standards are no longer protected by civil laws and codes or fair regulation to accept or perish on the harsh demands of the oligarch’s workplace conditions.

In short, the wealthy are attempting to destroy the stability of the Nation State.

And if this line of reasoning was followed through, it becomes clear that the wealthy to continue to prosper, must destroy the Nation State to replace it with a dictatorship.

For an individual to even want to climb to such a level of wealth without a desire to relinquish a goodly portion of such useless riches back into the community, demonstrates a personality that places no limits on its ambition … a greed unchecked, a venality unsatisfied, a desire insatiable, a depravity unstoppable!

The wealthy are working to destroy our Nation State … we, the citizen body depending on civil governance fair to all now, vital to all in the future, in benefit to the many, must now work toward destroying … for the good of the many, for the possibility of a future and for the good of the Nation State; the wealthy.

The wealthy must be stopped and contained.

Soil

Earth, dirt, soil and all that it contains for a healthy environment to live and plant, feed and prosper. There was a time when all peoples had a healthy respect for that piece of land that they lived upon. A sacred respect, a worshipped thing of unknown quantity with a reliable certainty that the Earth would provide.

Cut to the twentieth century, pre second world war … a time when self sufficiency on the land was still considered a religious endowment from God. This was especially relevant among the Germanic settlers who came from the deep soils of Silesia/Posen with the start of the settlement of South Australia. Their Lutheran teachings humbly drew their faith toward the debt to their God that the soil in this new land was holy grist for their mills and families and communities. Seasonal festivals for sowing and harvest were celebrated with gifts placed near or upon their church altars, their stern benevolence conditional on the continuity of hand to plough to faith to harvest and reward for work done.

And the arbiter of all this source and supply was the Earth itself … the soils of the settled lands … in reality if not in recognition; a Pagan celebration of Gaia … Mother Earth.

“She lives, she sees … her breath I breathe,

This Beauty,

This island; Earth.”

This was how it stood in those years before hire-purchase, compound interest mortgages and bank-loans became commonplace … When small holdings of farmland could support a single family with crops, chooks, a cow or two and the veggie patch to sustain a well-balanced diet and the household could get by on barter-exchange for what they did not produce with other farming families. I remember being told of one son, who upon joining the army in the time of the 2nd WW, literally sat down and wept when he received his first pay-packet with his own name on it … never before had he ever had money of his own.

The ownership of land gave you status within the district … With the working of the soil, you were considered one of the “ins” of the farming community … as against those who laboured for their living outside of ownership of land … these were the “outs”. Seen as spurned by God and considered a lesser member of the community.

From a study done back in the seventies :

“As I see it, they (the pioneers) accepted their arrival here as Divine Providence – they were led here – and their land was taken up at the hands of Divine Providence for themselves.” (Mr. “B” 80+ yrs, Barossa Survey).

Mr. Colin Thiele (the author), who lived on family property in the Barossa Valley until he went away to school said:

“Yes, there was a spiritual bond with the soil, linked with their religion. Their land was a gift from God and it was from the soil that good gifts flow. This knowledge was deeply and unquestioningly instilled in them.” (Barossa Survey).

The strict discipline brought to the new land in regards to system, method and social order, sustained these hardy pioneers through the rigors of unfamiliar weather and shallow top-soils … their over-zealous regard to form and measure causing damage to those very soils they revered as God’s gift to them … their hopelessly small allotments in this dry land soon showed them reason to doubt their benevolence.

“The German farmer who ran his farm in an ordered and efficient manner thought of himself, through the teaching of his church, as a good steward of that which had been given him through Divine Providence. To own land and to farm it well gave him status in the sight of God and of his fellow men. Any person not exhibiting signs of good stewardship, that is, an inefficient farmer, in the terms of this ideology was ‘out’, and considered to be of lower status. Colin Thiele suggested that through their zeal and desire to be good stewards the German pioneers (ironically enough):

. . . overtilled the soil through ignorance of Australian conditions compared with those of Silesia where they came from.“ (Barossa Survey).

The years of the Great Depression and the foreclosing by the banks on many of those small family farms drove some off the land, and by losing their land, there was “inside consideration” that they had fallen from faith with God and so were sometimes forced to leave the district and community. This had grave consequences for many Fathers and head of the family … breakdowns and suicides were not infrequent at this time, and the cruelty of financial dominance by the banks sent many other farmers into labouring for extra income in what was now a capital rather than a barter-based community.

Even the wording of the teachings from the Lutheran pulpits changed with the times .. where once praise for hard work on land and stock was singular for the owners and tillers of the soil, after the War, an equal consideration was given to whatever means was employed to gain wages to support the family … God had yielded his preference toward a life on the soil to any means available to keep one’s head above water!

The bankers were now writing the gospel … The conservative politicians were empowering the banks.

“Now mute, this soil of ravaged earth,

Speaks a language I no more discern,

Where once I tilled with bare hand …

… and did understand.

Mute ; the soil that gave me birth,

Speak to me! … my mother silent,

This island; Earth.“

Suddenly the means for subsistence was mercilessly altered … The soil, the Earth, lay open for rapine and pillage … cropping moved from small acreages to broad-acre and machinery from horse-drawn to satellite controlled in the space of a couple of generations. The descendants of those old Germanic pioneers, those hardened tillers of God’s earth moved from being “dirt-farmers” to “chemical-farmers” … the barter system redundant now as there was in place corporate conglomerates to shift mega tonnage and if your farm was too small for consideration, you were left behind.

There was no place in this brave new world of hedge-funded mega agri-corps for either sympathy for the old handed-down generational family farm, nor banking finance for the same to restructure the size of their holdings … the family whose heart was from the soil was finished, percentage was the new arithmetic of farming.

The prayer of capital religion was one of cold, hard cash … and woe betide they who lacked capital or credit, for theirs will not be the kingdom of this new God.

“Mr. B. ( 80+):

“It is an economic position as a result of politics that young people can’t afford to stay on the land. By and large they can’t even build a ‘blinkin’ house for themselves anymore because the prices have just escalated.

Mr. B. apparently, has only, as many disillusioned elderly people will do, seen government pol icy working towards this disintegration, and has failed to recognise the steady encroachment of the capitalist ideology within his own community. This encroaching capitalist ideology has been recognised by most of the younger generation, as witnessed Mr. N. (35) who knows that to be competitive in the modern economy, farms must be mechanised and holdings must be increased in size to warrant capital expenditure on the necessary machinery. He is aware that the old ideology requiring a good steward of God’s gifts to supply his family needs from his own land through his own labour is beyond the financial capability of the non-capitalised, restricted acreages which were sufficient in the days of the pioneers.” (Barossa Survey).

“This Island Earth.

Lament, fair children, Lament fair child,

Lament for what you have to abide.

Born to us a gift supreme, sight sublime,

Beauty’s hand to hand in mine,

But now I turn mine eyes askine,

Now in shame and guilt decline

To walk hand with hand in thine.

Whilst fair Beauty and her entourage

Lay dying in irreversible damage.

And ponder I, why ‘tis always encouraged,

That we pluck the prettiest flowers,

But leave the weeds to flourish …

On this island Earth.”

The corrupt cat of capitalism

It’s out of the bag …. the corrupt cat of capitalism … this corporate Tom has caught its last mouse. With the Banking Royal Commission drawing to a close, there is speculation whether there will be charges laid against certain heads of banking for fraudulent activities. Now there is a speculation!

But now, thanks to social media exposing in dribs and drabs, with personal story and video evidence shot on phones and mini-cams, all those corporate crimes that could once be hidden under cloak of “old-boy” conspiracy or cassock of the confessional … or simply from a lack of reporting in the once monopoly of the mainstream media … the full-light of day has hit their upturned, open-mouthed and shamed faces! Caught “polishing the silver”.

Knowing as we do now, that one doesn’t even get a foot-in-the-door for these high-echelon jobs without a certificate from a recognised “top end of town” private school education … The same goes for appointments to the high court judiciary and most of the Govt’ authorities … old school chums … as they say. I cannot recall many white-collar crims from so high position getting a stretch in chokey from one of their old class-mates. Sure, Alan Bond got a stretch … but then he never was “one of theirs”, always was a “pretender” … common chappy … doncha know? In contrast, there was Chris Skase … an old Caufield Grammar Boy … He didn’t go down because he was crook with a bad case of “running asthma” … I believe … and he got a ticket to run to Spain to live out his days in delightful shame … the upper middle-classes do have a conscience after all. And then there was “The Goanna” (Kerry Packer) and all those drugs and that gold that was pinched from a safe somewhere … but then the law never could work out quite who he was … we could at a pinch … but hey! … who are we?

Of course Rupert confessed to having the “most humble day of his life” and he got away with the lot on the strength of that head bowing moment and was saved from the total ignominy of a “pie-in-face” moment by the quick actions of his (now ex) wife who, if there was justice in the alimony courts, must have increased her payment by as much as 25% for that one little action … there are some sins that can never be forgiven!

But let’s not dwell on past crimes and criminals. Let us get back to this Banking Royal Commission that almost never happened because those “in-house” financial representatives of the upper-middle criminal class, the LNP, did their damnest to stop it! So now we have the exposed crimes, the exposed criminals and the final act of law is about to be delivered …

Will the law be seen to be done? That is the question.

Most of us have dealings with these large corporations and utilities and institutions. Corporations like banking, energy supply, telecommunications, petroleum suppliers, public transport, health, education, food and household supermarkets … all the usual accoutrements that allow a society to function smoothly … in short, our very existence relies upon the honesty of these suppliers to deliver products to our household. But I reckon you could almost guarantee to a private corporation that they are all involved like the banking/financial sector in some sort of covert corrupt practices.

They learned it on the playing fields of their private schools, you could say. The bills that come into my household from many of those corporations are so convoluted, with clauses and plans and contracts so loquaciously legalese verbose that it would take Mr Squiggle to draw a positive and knowing conclusion from the tangle!

I have sat at the end of the phone trying to get a clear and concise plan for my internet/phone use from one of the major Telcos for hours at a time and to no avail … every other Pilipino “Hamish” or “Louise” or “Kevin” call-centre person telling me a different thing and every bill that comes in more confusing than the last … and the same with many utilities and corporate accounts … and if there is one thing common to every small-time crook and swindler, from a front-bar Rolex seller to a front of the house shonky used car salesman, it is their capacity to confuse their intended target … hence the convoluted accounts and plans and contracts of all those above corporations … They are all crooked! And there is not one, I’d warrant, if brought before a Royal Commission that would not be found to be operating some sort of subversive swindle involving robbing blind either their customers or the government.

Which brings us to that other arm of corporate criminality: The LNP.

Now this here’s a little bewdy, folks … only a dozen or two owners … never used on Sundays and always ready to start-up and drive away! … drive away investigations, commissions, ICACs and/or any look into corporate crime that could involve themselves or their members in name dropping in low places or a connection with stuffed, brown-paper bags full of “folding greens” … you could call the LNP the “Vegans of Venality” … they live off the “green stuff” … and the only reason they seek office, every person Jack/Jill of them is to line the pockets of their own family or their old chums in the corporate sector. No other reason … no ideal of “for the benefit of the State” … no hand on heart for “the greater good” of the citizens of the state … just one downright, honest to their God objective: “Rob the f#ckers blind” … before they are temporarily voted from office and can re-organise their sucker troops to give them the keys to the treasury once more.

The Liberal Party started here in SA, you know … you can go to their State Branch website and see there that they trace their roots back to the “National Defence League” … a nice little coterie of “chums” like the original Downer and co. George Fife and his “confidential clerk” Charles Flaxman … they were all privy to the shenanigans of the South Australia Company that led the charge to form the party that professed the same rapacious and deceitful policies that the LNP professes today! Nothing has changed … neither the criminal intent, the fraud, the vicious treatment of the poor, weak and vulnerable … it is all there in the denied (by them) history … the foundations laid down at the same time they laid the foundations of the large, private schools so prevalent to their twisted educations … they can’t hide from history any longer, the text books are being re-written.

When corporations rob, they do it with sweets, when they steal, they do it with charm and when they kill, they do it with hired help … and when they want the whole grubby mess covered up, they do it under the cover of their old school tie.

Corporations, politicians, high judiciary, heads of authorities … all stacked to the gilded rafters with a “consciousness of kind” camaraderie.

But now … the cat is out of the bag … where will it run to? Watch this social media space!

The gross incompetence of a mediocre middle-class

Gather around fellow workers and producers … gather around citizens and retirees, gather around young and old … and all you who are now concerned at the gross mismanagement of the nation’s commodities, utilities, resources and people power. It is time to talk of removing those middle-class incompetents from office and replacing them with a skilled worker/producer political force.

There is no longer reason that only the certificated, private-schooled white-collar professionals are the most sought-after people to run for political office. There is no longer reason that the semi-professional trades and producers of any colour or ethnic stripe ought to be passed over for high office or if selected, only as a token fixture. Indeed, I say it is high-time those who have accumulated those very skills and capabilities that give credence to the name of a ministry take command of those portfolios of governance … perhaps even restricting certain ministries to only those people who can claim “on-site” working experience in that area of governance.

For instance: development and infrastructure – engineers and architects … housing and construction – building trades … health – practising nurses or doctors … agriculture – practising farmers … and so on into social and administrative needs … and defence. No more dropping mates names into a caucus hat where you have some gormless wanker whose only experience at life/work is to be able to talk with a plummy voice, look stupid or wear high fashion well.

I mean, have a look at this latest mob now in power … can anyone for the life of you recall … even in your own workplace or pub … in rumour or frustrated experience … a worse, more hopeless collection of crooks and fraudsters hell-bent on screwing over what should be a healthy (for everybody), wealthy (for the economy), and well educated with excellent communications systems society … and we end up with nothing but the threat of bankruptcy in every aforementioned topic!

This middle-class system of management was given carte blanche back in the days of the waning aristocracy of the Queen Victoria era when those “captains of industry” of the industrial revolution sought validation from their aristocratic debtors to plunder the colonies under the guise of Imperial Permission … Hence such rapacious institutions as the East-India Company and the South Australia Company … or any number of colonial plunderers who invaded, robbed and killed their way to personal wealth for the few with impunity, seeking and getting military backing from their Imperial partners when they had need to concoct “native wars” so as to rid themselves of a bothersome Indigenous presence that denied those robber barons land and minerals to fatten an already overflowing purse.

So we have these laws and legislation passed that have favouritism and benefits most suited to that class of people already sited within those closed perimeters of a social privilege and comfort zone that needed to be protected from worker/producer/Indigenous outrage at being both denied the same rights restricted them from birth or by the connivances and schemes to rob the workers of their hard-earned savings and/or their rights and wages at work. Time and again we see Union people, common workers in some cases getting hauled before the beak and sentenced for false or wrongly claimed accusations, yet when real criminal activity is exposed in high business institutions or within a corrupt govt’ department, we see a lack of even rudimentary investigation and none charged! … this is because the bastards doing most of the white-collar criminal activity are of the class that wrote the bloody laws!!

What we have been witnessing over the last years, is a motley collection of private-schooled, bumbling incompetents, a mediocracy squabbling amongst themselves like junior fags in some private school trying to curry favour with their upper-school prefects when they do the bidding of such business or political lobby groups to cull government services so as to outsource plum contracts to their private school business chums, destroy working contracts and agreements to allow cheap / coerced or bonded labour to be used to destroy union strength … when we see false intelligence used against some groups or nations that then allow policing or military operations to be used against those vulnerable people for no other reason than to divide and rule … then we are seeing a corrupt regime that has been infiltrated to the very top of power by influential lobby-groups.

It is time to rewrite the rules for many work/agricultural/social platforms and to re-write the rules, we must replace the ruling classes … For much too long has this “Consciousness of Kind” cosy confederacy given succour to a lazy, indolent, self-deluded class of fools as bent as a drawer full of used Uri Geller soup spoons.

It is time to draw a line under the old Imperial / Industrial legislation that is supportive of that corrupt class and their institutions … for there has to be agreed that if a Royal Commission was opened onto any of the most valued commercial providers like communications, utilities, social/education providers, mineral councils etc … we would find as we have found in banking/superannuation, that there would be very serious questions to answer. These institutions run on and thrive upon that old Dickensian confederacy of “nudge-nudge, wink-wink” … with so many operating a Fagan-like management and administration of “rob-blind while you can get away with it” policy.

Never in the life of me … never – and I am talking 67 years now – in a lifetime spent in trade/labour, have I met more than I could count on one hand those who have been highly educated and individually competent at multi-skilled workplace management … and I have worked for many well-placed business people and some political people in high office … but for the most you wouldn’t trust them to shuffle a pack of playing cards without them attempting to “stack the deck”. No bullshit … they are in the majority just absolutely mediocre and incompetent.

Get rid of the lot of them!

Replace them with the working/producing class and then we will see some real advances put in place for the country that will return both prosperity and respect for the whole citizen body!

This article was originally published on freefall852.wordpress.com.

“Write again, Blue Eyes.”

“Tickets please … Tickets please”…

The porter made his way from seat to seat checking and clicking the tickets of the passengers of the 12.30 pm train to the southern suburbs … it passed through the flats onto the hills stations to finish at Marino Rocks.

Annette clicked open her purse to extract the return ticket to Brighton from the side pocket there … upon extracting the pink slip of paper, she noticed a similar one still in the pocket. She took this one out as well, examined the date of 3 May, 1951 and satisfied herself that she handed the current dated one to the porter.

“The sea is nice there at Brighton this time of year,” he spoke as he clicked her ticket.

Annette said nothing in reply, but just nodded her head in agreement. The porter moved on down the aisle between the seats …

“Tickets please,“ he repeated.

Annette placed the current validated ticket back into the purse pocket, she gazed at the older ticket and noted the date as of one month previous to today’s date … she silently admonished herself for being so neglectful as to leave the ticket in her purse … She screwed the ticket up and dropped it to the floor of the carriage. Upon closing her purse, she caught a glimpse of the newspaper clipping she had cut from the day’s paper miscellaneous column … Annette knew the wording by heart, but she kept the cutting as a sense of reassurance of the appointment she had arranged.

Annette ran through the message again in her mind:

“Letter OK, sweet … meet at B … first date mentioned in letter. If anything happens ask for letter at B … Blue Eyes.”

She secured the catch on her purse and placed it in her lap and turning her face to the filmy window of the carriage, she saw the reflection of a young, but not so young now woman, with wavy brown hair above a pale, powered face with, she hoped, a not too dark a shade of lipstick on a pair of pert lips … There was a furrow of concern on the brow and the eyes looked wary.

She turned her head away quickly as if she had seen something she would rather not think about and proceeded to turn the plain, gold wedding ring on her finger.

“It’s not unusual,” Doctor Short had said. ”Young married couples do sometimes take a while to conceive … I’d give it some more time and just let nature take its course … perhaps a quiet evening or two at home with a favourite record on and a glass of sherry … or two,” and Dr. Short smiled his warming, ‘confidence giving’ smile. Annette just nodded in agreement and said that her husband preferred beer.

But it had now been three years and still no change.

The short, terse discussions Annette had with her husband on the possibility of one of them being infertile always ended in her being reassured that his side of the family never had any such problems and no, he did not want to go to the doctor and get “interfered with” when he was certain the problem did not rest with him. And that was the end to it.

The Italian lady next door, Elvira, laughed when told of Annette’s dilemma:

“Back home we had a saying that there were no infertile men in the village … and certo … if a woman could bear children, then there were children …because after a certain time passed, the parish priest was called in to “do his duty to God’s handmaidens,” and he would hang his walking cane over the entrance doorknob while he “administered the faith” to the lady of the house and if the husband came home and saw the cane there, he would keep walking up to the bar and play a hand or two of briscola, take a whisky or two, before making his way back home respectfully.”

Annette dismissed those notions as typical of peasant village women thinking … an outcome much too public and open to ridicule for a lady of Anglo descent. There were ways other than gross serviceability … discretion was the hallmark of civilised society … of a refined woman in today’s world.

Annette stepped onto the platform at Brighton and made her way to the exit ramp. She paused at the top of the ramp and gazed over the road in front to a little corner store-cum-post office there on the “Old Beach Road” that led to the seashore. As she gazed at the empty scene, a man of around thirty-five years stepped out of the corner store …  he stopped to take out and light up a cigarette with a personal lighter that he replaced to an inside pocket of his suit. Annette recognised him and gave a small noting wave which he cautiously returned … she crossed the street and without touching, they proceeded to walk to the beach.

At the beach, the man spread a checked wool blanket that he took from a parked sedan in the road above the sands. Annette removed her gloves and shoes and made herself discretely comfortable on the blanket.

“Nice to see you again,” the man spoke. “This being the third time in as many months, will this be a regular thing?” he teased and touched her forehead as he brushed away a tuft of fringe of her hair.

“I’m not sure …” Annette replied, ”circumstances may prevent us meeting again.”

“What do you mean?” The man sat back from his position close to her. He cocked one eyebrow questioningly.

“I may be pregnant,” Annette spoke plainly. The man raised his eyebrows and with wide-eyed anxiety asked:

“Heavens … what are we to do … I mean … I can’t …”

“No, it’s quite alright,’ Annette touched his arm reassuringly.” I wanted it to happen … I wanted the child.”

The man looked bewildered and a bit dazed …

“Well, that may be good for you … but I am already married with children. I thought this was a fling for both of us … I can’t manage another family.”

Again, Annette touched his arm reassuringly:

“No, I will not trouble you about the child. As you know I too am married … but we … my husband as it now turns out … couldn’t have children … couldn’t give me a child … so I took the opportunity of our relationship to have one with you.” Annette gently smiled, ”I needed another child.”

“Another child!?” the man stared and thought. “Then …t hen that time several years ago when we first met …?” He didn’t finish what he was thinking.

“Yes,” Annette smiled again … “He’s two now and beautiful … thank you.”

The man was thinking now …

“So that’s why you wanted a recent picture of me when we first wrote … so you could see if I was a close match to your husband?”

“Of course! It would not work otherwise … I mean how would it look if you were a flaming red-head, or a swarthy Mediterranean type? How stupid would that be?”

“And your husband doesn’t know?”

“Of course not. He thinks he’s shooting bullets not blanks … and I had to make a decision soon or it would start to come back on one or the other of us. After all, there are expectations in society … you know.”

“Yes … the stigma of a barren woman or a man who only fires blanks … terrible.”

The man leaned back against a rock of the breakwater and took out and lit another cigarette …

“It’s why I got back in touch with you in the paper,” Annette softly spoke.

“Yes … right … I was rather surprised. I presumed you’d forgot all about me … was delighted to read your request to meet again, though … but you would risk your marriage for the sake of having children?” He blew a stream of smoke into the soft air of the Autumn day.

“He broke the contract!” Annette blurted out … and then in a more condescending tone, “and he didn’t want to have tests done … he didn’t want to know if it was himself … no man does … so this way we both achieve our goals … even you,” and she smiled coquettishly.

The man drew on his cigarette and returned her smile.

“In that case …I suppose so,” and he drew on the cigarette again … “And so we continue to meet … Blue Eyes”

“Blue Eyes?” Annette queried.

“You remember when we first communicated through the paper and I asked what you looked like for when we first meet?”

“Oh yes.” Annette clasped her arms around her legs as she sat thinking of the time. “I didn’t know how to go about these things … it was only chance that I spotted that column … “Miscellaneous” … in the paper and I read several of those people … mostly men … lonely men looking for ‘lady companions’.” Annette giggled.

“Yes…” the man reflected, “it was a new thing for me too. I was lonely, coming down every month from the north on business … A man can end up a drunk – or worse – when he has too much time on his hands. A mate in the same game as me put me onto it … took some Dutch courage to kick it off though,” and he gave a laugh.

“You didn’t give much away … but you did say you have blue eyes … and wavy hair.” He touched her soft locks, “But you never did tell me your whole name.”

“And neither did you … and it best remain that way … for truly, if I am pregnant, and I do believe I am … we probably will not be meeting again … I don’t want any more children … two is enough.”

The man stubbed out his cigarette.

“Yes, well … that may be for the best all around. It could get sticky if it gets out … for both of us. I wouldn’t want my wife to know … and our four kids is plenty for me.”

“Oh,” Annette replied lazily, “she probably already does … or suspects at least.”

“Nah … she doesn’t have a clue … she’s miles away..up north,” and he stared out over the sea.

“Oh … she’d know.”

“How?” the man asked. “Would you tell her?”

“How could I? I don’t even know your real name. No, it’s you men … when you are satisfied in that way … you walk about like a prancing Tom-cat.” And she smiled.

“Are we that easy to pick?” he grinned.

“Of course … how would we women not know? After all, it was us who invented sex … do you think Adam would have eaten the apple without Eve?” Annette threw her head back and laughed. The man grinned and looked at her affectionately.

“I’m beginning to worry about you … you’re dangerous. But what of today? Here we are …” and he looked at Annette with a cheeky grin.

Annette lowered her eyes in a vampish manner and replied:

“I suppose it doesn’t hurt to make certain of a good job done,” and she touched the side of his face affectionately.

“Come,” he said, “I have a car waiting for my lady.” And they gathered themselves up and made for the parked sedan at the top of the stairs.

Annette paused at the foot of the steps and he offered his arm to steady her as she put on her shoes. She turned to the man and asked:

“Can you give me your name? Not your first, your second name … and when the child is born, I can let you know … in the Miscellaneous column.”

The man turned and smiled at Annette:

“Paul,” he said … and he held out his hand. They walked to the car … just like any young couple.

Ten months later a short sentence appeared in the Miscellaneous column of the daily newspaper:

“Package arrived safely … much joy … ‘Pauline’.”

The following week on the usual day they would communicate Annette read the confirming note in the miscellaneous column:

“Sweet … letter OK … if ever needed, write again, Blue Eyes.”

This story was first published on freefall852.wordpress.com.

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