There’s a Whole World Out There! … or … The Joy of Walking

Jaycee sent me this piece this afternoon, when I admitted to feeling more than a little blue about life in general. He told me, “This was written a few years ago when I was living in a different place…a different space…but the principles are still the same….” Thank you, Jaycee, for your sane reflection in an increasingly insane country – very much what I needed. I hope other denizens of The Pub will feel likewise.

(Image Credit: Shoot)

I now have no car.

That statement in itself may require an explanation in these self-commuting times, but I think I’ll leave that reason at a loose end …

And speaking of another thing that has ended … I feel I can state quite categorically (as an observant walker) and declare it official that the daisy bush has replaced the geranium as the stalwart mainstay of verdant flowering flora in the domestic front garden!

The long-lashed cheeky button flower of the daisy has edged the precocious petals of the geranium off centre-stage. I suppose in this age of “go-get-’em” attitude and “in-your-face” aggressiveness the battling geranium could hardly match the many blossomed. Fast growing daisy-bush ….. might, is now right!

I notice these small things on my walks into the town where I live. Hybrid roses too have muscled-in on a place next to the footpath, all bright and starry-eyed like the young starlets they are, their many-hued blooms huge and alluring to the passer-by ….. although I myself, religiously adhering to the adage: “Always take time to smell the roses”, find little delight in discovering so scant a scent in such wonderful blossoms. … and I feel a little cheated, like false advertising that encourages false expectations, for surely, if there is any flower that looks delicious enough to kiss. it is the rose …. and like any kiss, a fellah needs to take away with him an exotic, lingering scent of delight to caress and steel him against all the crassness of the outside world and…but I think I have made my disappointment plain..; the hybrid rose, without its scent, is as a romance without mystery!

(Image Credit: LA Times)

It is Summer where I live and the fruit trees are bearing bountifully. None more so than the cherry-plums along the railway track that I cut across on my way into town. For some reason these delicious trees are shunned by the public and much of the fruit is left to fall and rot on the ground. Bearing no such animosity to such bountiful harvest, I make feast on their berries!… These, and plums galore, accompany the walker on his journey and I make note the fruit of the nectarine tree leaning precariously over the corrugated iron fence of “Such and Such Ltd …. Motor Repairs” is deepening its crimson blush and fattening itself up for the picking!… .. not long now.

(Image Credit: Allotments and Gardens)

A Serbian I once worked with told me of his struggle against hunger in his youth after the war, and how he made it his business to note when every fruit tree, every vine in every backyard or lot in his village was ready to be raided … such are the necessities of survival. In Australia, where we take such things for granted, it is one more joy to be embraced on my walks.

Another thing I have noticed, although it has fallen out of fashion with the onset of “estate housing”, is the front fence. The front fence is one of the last and lasting expressions of individuality in a world of shrinking imaginations. In Australia – indeed, the world – the front fence, like certain hobbies, was open slather to any fetish of taste or tastelessness. I have seen them constructed of everything from shells to bits of ironmongery ….. “TAKE THAT!” was the creed for some of the monstrosities separating the incumbent from the innocents in the outside world. From bits of off-cut wood to animal bones and limestone rocks.

(Image Credit: Toothbrush Nomads)

And what was the flower that inevitably graced these icons and filled the gaps in the masonry? The geranium! Alas, it is gone now, as is that generation of front fence makers who, although predictable in all other mannerisms pertaining to urban life. could be counted upon to equal or maliciously outdo the neighbour in design or complexity, the Bastille like structure of the front fence. And gone, also, is the geranium … alas, alas!

(Image Credit: The Garden of Eden)

Windmills, simple in structure, were a regular feature of front gardens, but these too have been replaced by more complex “paddling duck” or “rowing men” and even by mass-produced “cupid” bird-baths. Some of the more bombastic citizens plant spread-winged eagles gargoyled on top of gate-pillars which gaze threateningly down on the walker as he moves past. I remember seeing a young woman innocently walk past a live wedge-tailed eagle perched on a fence at eye level next to the footpath. I was watching from a stopped train. As the woman drew abreast of the bird, she turned her head toward it (there is an impish spirit that provokes these actions!). I presume she didn’t expect to see such a large creature a foot or so from her face. The sudden leap to the centre of the road was Olympian to say the least! and when her knees buckled under her I thought she was going down for prayers on the bitumen! But no, she swiftly regained her composure and with only a few deft adjustments to her hair, promptly moved on. Against such nerves of steel, the male of the species has no chance …. though to this day I don’t know if it was the bird that screeched or the woman.

(Image Credit: Ozleworth Park)

I keep a small box at home in which I place all the “treasures” gleaned from the roads when I walk. There are shiny( they have to be shiny!) bolts and hose-clamps, a squash-ball, a portable phone, spanners and other miscellaneous objects, some unidentifiable but interesting …. what few coins I find I spend. The gutters and the shrubs are receptacles for all the detritus of mankind. Bits and pieces that fall off cars end up scarred and scraped into the kerbside gutters. Drink containers and waste paper end up stuffed, like bodies up chimneys, into any nook or kicked under bushes. At nesting time any excess chicks forced or pushed out of nests end up little mounds of fluff on the footpath or flattened on the roads. I can’t help but feel pity for these helpless chicks. who don’t even get a start in life before it is brutally taken from them. But then. what animal in the wild (even domestic) does not meet with a violent end? Though once, when a flock of starlings flew over me, I saw one fall, for no apparent reason, out of the flock. to my feet (almost) dead as a doornail ….. heart attack.? Old age? Who knows. But it was only once that I saw that.

(Image Credit: Etsy)

Walking can be very educational, peaceful and fulfilling. One’s thoughts fall into the rhythm of the step and rare is the worry or problem that cannot be resolved in the space of a good long walk. The relaxing contrasts of sunlight and shade, water sprinkler and breeze, the chlorophyll odour of fresh-cut lawn near the lake, the idle paddling of the ducks mixed with the joyful cries of children at play, lend a certain visceral ambience to the atmosphere of the clinging world around us that we call life…

Oh the joy of walking!

779 thoughts on “There’s a Whole World Out There! … or … The Joy of Walking

  1. leonetwo

    And Rupes gives up on China and ditches Wendy….hmmmmm…..

    Well he ditched his Aussie passport a microsecond after finding out Seppo citizenship allowed him to further his US media buying spree,

  2. Razz found out about Hunter yesterday morning, meet and greet arranged for 10am. Guess who were sitting in front of locked gates at 9.30am?
    We were both in love by 2 minutes past 10. The look on Razz’ face when she was told she would have to wait till Tues or Weds to bring him home prompted the wonderful young women to make an urgent call the the Vets.

    And you know the rest of the story. Will post photo’s as soon as we can work out how to do it after we take them.

    I have to agree with Razz, Hunter is a real cutie, just have to get used to a short haired dog. You have to see the size of the collar and harness, they are minimalist, but the price was maximus, glad we only have to get them once.

  3. Well, they did promise a no surprises government

    The Coalition has unveiled tough compulsory conditions for construction companies tendering for government work in a move unions say is a “covert” attempt to move back to the old WorkChoices regime.

    The employment minister, Eric Abetz, said the new code would “restore the rule of law and fairness to Australia’s construction sector” because it reversed the previous Labor government’s changes which he said were made to appease the “extreme” Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU).

  4. Well, they did promise a no surprises government

    The Coalition has unveiled tough compulsory conditions for construction companies tendering for government work in a move unions say is a “covert” attempt to move back to the old WorkChoices regime.

    The employment minister, Eric Abetz, said the new code would “restore the rule of law and fairness to Australia’s construction sector” because it reversed the previous Labor government’s changes which he said were made to appease the “extreme” Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU).

    So is workchoices dead, buried, cremated or embalmed in formaldehyde?


  6. So is workchoices dead, buried, cremated or embalmed in formaldehyde?

    Undead – “Walkerchoices”.

  7. TLBD

    Here is Fred Dagg aka John Clarke speaking about education. Funny to me as he mish mashes so much stuff I remember being taught at Kiwiland high school in the 1970’s .

  8. Ducky,
    General, then.

    I’m really interested in the proposition that the Indian Ocean floor has been thoroughly scanned – even the relatively small bit that’s the search area.

    There are mountains down there – big ones. Would the scan have identified things on the offside slope? What’s more, the instability is such that if the plane had crashed onto one of the pinnacles, the wreckage might well have slid down the proverbial slippery after the scan had surveyed that bit of the “floor”.

  9. Ducky,
    That’s a most unfortunate photograph. It looks as though Mrs New Premier is homing in on a nit …..

  10. Leroy,
    I am stunned by that image … but WHY is it that so many in this country froth at the sight of a woman wearing a hijab?

    The gear these people are wearing is – for me – far more frightening.

    Auto-da-fé , anyone?

  11. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.
    Why? Because he’s as cunning as a shithouse rat!
    A very good defence of ICAC in the face of criticism from the right.
    As expected it is some sailor(s) that are left carrying the blame. I ask the question, “What is it that motivated these commanders to do what they did?” . Meanwhile Abbott, Morriscum and the Toy Soldier walk away unscathed.
    A good contribution from Greg Jericho.
    “I’m outta here!” said BOF, “And you’re coming with me Arfur”.
    Richard Ackland reckons Dyson Heydon might well make Abbot rue the day he announced the RC into the construction industry,
    David Marr seems underwhelmed by the royal visit.
    Alan Moir with a special vintage red.

    Ro Tandberg on the price of certain red wine.

  12. And from the Land of the Free –

    Mike Bloomberg on the job with gun control.
    How low and stupid can the Repugs go?
    A Repug gets nicely exposed on their losing battle on the minimum wage issue.
    “If my uterus were a gun”.
    David Pakman ties an ant-gay gubernatorial candidate in knots.

  13. More on Obeid – the money keeps rolling in.

    This week marks an Obeid anniversary – it’s one year since the O’Farrell government gave the go-ahead for development to proceed on land the Obeid family owns at Lake Cathie, not far from here. Notice how this article from a year ago carefully avoids any mention of the name ‘Obeid’.

    Two of Eddie’s sons, Damian and Paul, are directors of Milland, the company that owns a share of the land. Moses Obeid withdrew a while back. Here’s a bit of history.

    The land is environmentally sensitive beachfront. The developers swear the dunes will be protected. A few fools might believe that. Now, finally, the development is on the market. If you’d like to make the Obeid family even wealthier you can buy some land or a house and land package here – just look for anything with the name ‘Seawide’.

    Something no-one remembers now – this land was bought by Eddie Obeid in 1988, in partnership with disgraced former mayor of Strathfield John Abi Saab. More Lebanese connections there, adding to the Obeid tangle of corrupt associates and corrupt government dealings.

  14. Was a tad pissed off but not suprised at Tony Jones on Lateline last night, interviewing Labor’s Robinson….the conversation, as we have been somewhat aware, has been on the NSW. LNP. and getting through THAT little distraction as quick as possible, Jones starts attacking Robinson!…WTF.!…the conversation’s about O’Farrell and Baird and their connection with Giroloma..and here we get Robinson / Labor and the union holiday camp non-bribe that not only didn’t happen, never was going to happen…but THIS now becomes the if to teach Labor a lesson..”Don’t get too straight..we’ve got your number”…
    It’s as though the ABC. has this now ingrained dirt-file on Labor, out of date, out of detail, out of players and out in the cold..but we’ll run it anyway…just like the Gillard / AWU thing from twenty years gone…like they have to do it for the bias thing!
    What a bunch of amateurs…what a bunch of losers…no wonder we all go to other sites for our information now!

  15. OK, just to start the day with a conspiracy theory or part there of.
    An acquaintance of mine with very, very close ties to the Sydney legal fraternity, the ALP and some Libs made 2 points in a ph converastion last night.
    He believes firstly that BOFs defence counsel should be sacked for not having his client prepared given that there were hints several weeks ago that this was coming out.
    But more importantly he believes that BOF was set up. I’m the conspiracy theorist, he’s not so coming from him this is startling. Unfortunately for me he wouldn’t elaborate except to say that more “could” come out in ICAC.
    I raised many scenarios eg brought down because he wouldn’t play ball with money people; a push by internal Lib politics; the patsy for others .
    Who knows?
    Maybe we just keep watching and waiting.
    And on that, if anyone else saw Kristina Kennealyon TV the other night she was almost incredulous. Among other things she said was that while she was premier there was always a static security guard stationed at her home 24/7. She said that she assumed BOF would’ve had the same guards and to suggest that someone would leave a “package” on the doorstep of the Premier of the state is ridiculous.

  16. See – that’s why I don’t bother with Lateline and I still don’t see why anyone else would bother. On the rare occasions they come up with something interesting you can catch up online, pick the bit you want and ignore the rest. Why waste time sitting through an hour of dross every night on the off-chance there might be five minutes worth watching?

    There’s been an awful lot of whinging about ABC bias and crap here lately. I keep asking why any of you persist with it all, but no-one seems able to explain. Is the ABC like nicotine – one you get the habit you can’t kick it?

  17. rnm1953
    What Baird does over the next few weeks will give us a good idea of why O’Farrell might have been set up. Here are a few things he could do that might give us a clue –
    Abandon the NSW government’s current support for Gonski.
    Support the proposed racial discrimination changes – O’Farrell opposed them
    Agree to flog off public assets as Joe Hockey wants.
    Announce the sale of the electricity ‘poles and wires”.

    if any of that happens we can be pretty damn sure it was Liberal Party machinations that did O’Farrell in.

  18. As ever Leonetwo is on the ball this morning with two top contributions.

    First, as to the worth of programs on “their” ABC, I still watch Janet King, Rake (both now in recess), Death in Paradise, Damien Parer (to come) and Jack Irish and his mates. The Doctor from Bendigo was also pretty good as was his Cornish fellow-medico.

    Next, to the four criteria the guru from Part Macquarie suggests be the measure of the Lib Party machinations, I say that it’s a pretty good bet that ALL four of them will have been put into place by the end of June. Poor Fellow, my country,

  19. Leone!!…my OH. is an Aunty devotee…of the “see,hear,speak no evil” kind….there is always an excuse for their behaviour…but then she IS an audio person, while I am a video person…she hears EVERYTHING..whils I am somewhat of a blocker.
    I can’t change the TV channel as I was made to put a 50mm /8g. roofing screw through the remote fixed on ABC. 1 !

  20. brianmcisme
    That’s very flattering, I never knew I was a guru.

    I have to say I enjoy the ABC’s drama programs, but that’s about all I watch. They can shove their news and what they call ‘current affiars’.

  21. I still reckon we have to start our own “fifth estate TV” channel. How about it Joe?…pirate Tv. run from one of your trucks…a kind of mobile broadcaster!?
    “Hi out there in TV land..this is Joe the rig-jock bringing you Bushfire Bill’s half hour…”

  22. …I forgot!…” sponsored by your favourite beer..Southwark!….made from the pure water of the Torrens River!”

  23. Let’s start Easter with a bit of fun!
    This is a little moment from back when my old man was still alive (just!) . He decided he wanted a verandah on one side of the house and HE wanted to build it…not himself, mind, he was much too old..but he wanted to be “in charge”…a last chance at directing building work I suppose (he was a stonie after all)…Ok!..ok!..go for it!…He hired a local contractor…this was retold to me by my old man later…

    Proverb : The young shape the future,
    The old reshape the past.

    Parable..: The contractor stood under the framework of the verandah he was building, complaining to the owner (an old man) about the young apprentices “these days”.
    “No responsibility.” he slapped the back of one hand upon the other.
    “No, none.” the old man agreed, stabbing his walking stick on the ground.
    “No sense of loyalty.” the contractor enlarged.
    “No..certainly not!” the old man agreed.
    “They expect everything to be handed to them on a silver platter…including money!”
    “Yes, yes..true , true.” the old man sighed.
    “Just look at the lad I got…no sign of him…and here it is past nine o’clock”
    “No..not a sign” the old man nodded….”no sense of loyalty”.
    “you said sense of responsibility” the contractor agreed.
    Just as he finished these words, a black “hoon ute” pulled up with a roar into the old man’s driveway and parked down the end. The driver’s door opened and a young blade stepped out, one leg and body out, one hand holding the top of the door and the other gripping the roof rack. He looked up to the men standing under the verandah staring at him.
    The contractor, on seeing his apprentice finally arrive and being in the state he was in, raised his forearm and with his right index finger began stabbing the face of his watch while grimmacing menacingly. The young apprentice frowned and lifted his arm up to examine his own timepiece….
    “OH!..right….” he called out in acknowledgement, his right arm raised with index finger pointing toward the sky…; “SMOKO!”
    The contractor smacked his forehead with the open plam of his hand.

  24. I am thinking of running a Triva competition later on this afternoon if enough people are interested in playing.
    Still working out how to do it fairly but could be a bit of fun
    .Any takers?

  25. Leone,
    I’m an ex-smoker and I don’t miss it. I’m also an ex ABC (news/current affairs) watcher and I don’t miss it, either. Maybe there is a link.

    Bushfire Bill’s comments re St Pat’s yesterday were illuminating. I too went through the “lesser” (non-Jesuit) Catholic School system at Pagewood Marist Brothers (now rather grandly re-badged as Champagnat College – after the founder of the Marist Brothers). It produced plenty of doctors, lawyers, rent-seekers and prisoners, plus some Olympians, huge numbers of first grade footballers of both codes – Mario Fenech probably being the most famous of them. It also produced, of late, the current leader of the ACTU – Dave Oliver and the current member for Kingsford-Smith and ex-Senator – Matt Thistlethwaite.

    The thing about Pagewood is that it is probably further down the food-chain than St Pats. The pecking order – upwards – is Pagewood > Marcellin Randwick (both Metropolitan Catholic) > Waverley College > St Aloysius (Associated Schools) > Joeys and Riverview – obviously a tie because they are both GPS. However, the looking down the nose from those great heights is still the same. Just compare how the present member for Warringah views the member for Kingsford-Smith. With a lot more disdain than he would have the previous member – Peter Parrett of Barker College.

    Plus ca change…

  26. Peter Garrett, of course…

    On another matter. Has anyone been in the Pagewood area recently? If you get a chance, have a look at what they are doing to the old GMH factory, more recently British American Tobacco. The factory buildings are well and truly on the way down and the recently approved 2000 apartments are well and truly on the way up. Significance? They are RIGHT NEXT DOOR to one of the biggest Westfields in the country – Eastgardens. I don’t suppose that little recently approved co-incidence is worthy of an ICAC peep? Of course, it goes without saying that Amy Farrah-Fowler,s south east light rail is stopping less than one kilometre from this monstrosity and, needless to say, the same distance from the mini Hong Kong just down the road at Maroubra, where the 80 metre wide right of way where the trams used to go sits there, used only as a car park. More magic infrastructure planning from the state Libs.

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