Monthly Archives: August 2013

Poo Pills and Postponed Plans

I am now familiar with 'that' look...

I am now familiar with ‘that’ look…

Last week, along with many other Gladstone locals, I caught a 24 hour stomach bug, which over stayed its’ welcome by five days.  And during a late night workout on the porcelain I recalled that the last time I experienced a virus this nasty was exactly twenty three years ago; on our wedding day.

On that fateful 1990 morning, I woke up nice and early thanks to ‘an all orifices explosion’.  By mid-morning my best man was having conniptions about my rapidly deteriorating condition, so he hustled me off to a chemist where I flopped across the counter and begged for a bullet between the eyes.

Just then a cheery woman called out, “Hi Greg! I’m really looking forward to your wedding today!”  I couldn’t see who she was, but the astonished chemist asked, “You’re getting married?!  When?!”

“Four hours…” I mumbled, “where’s your dunny?”

The chemist dropped several pills into my mouth, rubbed my throat til I swallowed them, then propped me against the contraceptives shelf where I stood muttering incoherently and drooling on myself.  It’s a wonder I wasn’t arrested.

But they worked!  Half an hour later I cartwheeled out the door, with a free packet of contraceptives in my top pocket, courtesy of the smiling chemist.

I wish I knew the name of those pills, because the ones I took last week were useless.  Then Long Suffering Wife got crook too, sending our hopes for a honeymoon commemoration weekend at Agnes Waters down the gurgler.

So, we spent our anniversary lolling around at home instead, and the highlight of the day was when I whispered to my wife, “Well, things haven’t always worked out how we wanted, but I’ll always be here Little Mate.”

She must have heard me, because I could hear her crying through the toilet door.

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Wheelbarrow Full of Luck!

WheelbarrowSeveral months ago, Long Suffering Wife demanded I address some urgent jobs around the yard, but my old wheelbarrow was called to the ‘Great Shed in the Sky’ so they got put on hold.  Lucky me!

Last weekend the topic was raised again, so we sailed off to buy a new wheelbarrow, but I somehow took a wrong turn, and we ended up in Yarwun where the Model Aeroplane Club was holding an exhibition.  We checked out the numerous models on display, then watched the little planes spinning and twisting through the sky quicker than a politician dodging tricky questions.

While I gained an encyclopaedic knowledge of miniature flight, Long Suffering Wife bought some raffle tickets then started stabbing at her watch and nodding towards the car.  Unfortunately, the wheelbarrow shops had closed by the time we got to town.

Our next stop was a night of high culture with the ladies of the Gladstone Roller Derby Club.  Once we’d worked out the basic ‘rules’ it was a hoot!  After witnessing a roller brawl that ended with half the squad being sent off for crimes against humanity, I said to Long Suffering Wife, “You should do this!”  Apparently she will, but only if I start playing rugby league.

On Sunday morning, after scoffing down the Breakfast of Champions (toast smothered with bacon), we did the Botanic to Bridge fun run, and carved a large space in the tightly packed crowd around us with some moves we’d learned at the roller derby.

Afterwards, while opening a post-fun run beer, the phone rang, “Congratulations!” said the chap from the model aero club, “You’ve won a wheelbarrow full of groceries!”  My whispered pleas to give me the food while they kept the barrow were ignored, and they thoughtfully dropped everything off early enough in the day for me to start tackling those urgent jobs.

Just my luck!

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Botanic to Bridge Fun Run 2013

IMG_2742Here in Gladstone, signs are emerging that Spring is getting ready to pounce.  Earlier sunrises, cane-toads re-appearing in dog water bowls, and our footpaths crammed each morning, and evening, with joggers preparing for the Botanic to Bridge Fun Run.

Folks, running is not something you do for fun.  Running should only ever be used as a last resort to save a life, or make it to the smorgasbord, keg, toilets or exits before the crowd does.

If you need further proof that the words ‘run’ and ‘fun’ shouldn’t be uttered in the same sentence, then check out the faces of the many joggers shambling around town at the moment, and note the absence of smiles on their dials.

Sometimes their expressions are devoid of all emotion, like someone enduring a terrible torture, or showcasing any number of pained expressions ranging from ‘This really, really hurts!’ to, ‘I must be (insert swear word) insane?!’

If history is any guide we Brays have always been walkers, as there is no record anywhere of a Bray winning a running event.  I reckon our original ancestor, Caveman Bray, only survived long enough to breed the next generation of strollers, because he managed to move only slightly faster than slow moving foods like geriatric tortoises, sleeping sloths, injured snails and moss.

But each year we happily line up with real runners in the B2B, and long after the pack of hopeful competitors have dashed off for possible race glory (and almost certain knee reconstruction), we can be found casually rambling along in the pre-Spring sunshine with a cheerful smile and a jaunty spring in our step.

Well, it’s for a great cause, and it’s also quite a lot of fun; provided you don’t do anything silly, like jogging or running.

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From a Blow-In to a Multi-Cultural Food Loving Local

Multi foodsI spent part of my childhood living in Innisfail, FNQ, and as a white Australian family we were the ethnic minority in our neighbourhood.

Fortunately we got on extremely well with our multi-cultural neighbours, largely because we owned the only telephone and TV set in the street.

The Mayor of Innisfail once quipped that our community only needed an Eskimo to have every nationality on Earth represented in the shire.  An Inuit family eventually turned up but they didn’t stay long, thanks to the stifling humidity and lack of walrus meat.

Growing up in a culturally diverse community was great!  Not because of all the different languages, beliefs and traditions we were exposed to; but the amazing variety of foods on offer.  We Innisfailures were shovelling down ravioli, pizza, quiche, kebabs, couscous and at least thirty different types of spaghetti, while the rest of Australia thought rissoles sprinkled with parsley flakes was the height of exotic culinary daring.

Then, in the mid-70’s, we moved to Gladstone, and a much blander diet.  Back then it seemed like everyone was new to Gladstone, and the original locals found themselves circling the wagons as their town filled with strange faces and numerous new developments, industries and suburbs.

Sound familiar?

Well, on the weekend I got an inkling of how those old locals must have felt.  Because as I shuffled around the multi-cultural fair, cheerfully stuffing who-knows-what into my mouth, I became aware of how many folk around me I didn’t know.  Who were all these people?!

Gawping at the crowd of strange faces I recalled the advice of an old Hungarian workmate, “When you are foreigner, it is best to smile and nod a lot.”  So that’s just what I did, and it worked!  The ‘blow-ins’ returned my smiles, and suddenly I no longer felt like a stranger in my own home-town.

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