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. I’ve been (to use a more dignified term than it deserves) “developing” my theory about the ChristianBrothers (and similar) versus “The Rest” for a while now.

    To me it’s completely obvious what’s going on. I lived through the heckling and the barracking at Saturday afternoon football games when we played whoever was having a “bye” game from the GPS that week.

    St. Pat’s – which had previously been an … ugh … Rugby League playing school – turned to Rugby in the mid-sixties. From a “First XIII” we progreessed to a “First XV” as the premier school sporting team.

    We got beaten by everyone in the first few years as we got used to rucking and mauling, instead of play-the-balls.

    But in 1970, my final year there, we beat all comers, comprehensively. Didn’t lose a single game. Won the lot. I can still remember when we beat Riverview (Abbott’s alma mater) 19-0 the words one of their kids said within my earshot: “Well they beat us at footy, but they’re still Westies.” That was the attitude.

    Years later and the same kids (more or less) faced off against each other across the despatch table in the Federal Parliament. The same attitudes persisted. The same plonking dismissal of ex-Brothers boys by the same ex-Jesuit boys. Both Catholics, with with an ocean of perceived privilege between them.

    Of course the true Establishment in the Liberal Party is Melbourne Protestant. So what they must be thinking now as the Catholics – ALL low rent as far as Melbourne is concerned, Jesuit-educated or not – seem to be f**king it all up for everybody? In addition to this the miscreants, urgers, spivs, shonks and lurk merchants now enjoying a temporary ascendancy in the Liberal Party are from… puhleeeaaase! … Sydney.

    These are NOT the kinds of chaps that can be allowed to keep the reins of influence in their hands for too long, lest they really end up doing some damage.

    Pretty soon we’ll see someone start to dig into Abbott’s and Hockey’s associations with AWH and Nicky Dee (and friends). Joe’s already on record as refunding $30,000 originally donated by AWH to his re-election campaign. There is mention of Abbott in the ICAC documents too as having received some paltry amounts.

    I might also add that these people – Abbott and Hockey – are not upper North Shore, but Lower North Shore, and in Abbott’s case even worse – The Northern Beaches and Mosman. While technically “North” of the Bridge, these areas are either not far enough north, or are north in the wrong direction. VERY dodgy indeed. The only member of the Ruling Elite from the Eastern suburbs is Turnbull,,and the less said about him, the better.

    Murdoch too is regarded as anti-Establishment. He has never forgiven the Ruling Class for dudding his Dad, Sir Keith, way back at the end of the First World War. He went after Queen Elizabeth and her family – bugging phones, dishing dirt, making shit up – when he ran UK newspapers personally, because she wouldn’t countenance knighting him, giving him the gong his father had won.

    Of course, now that the new knighthoods are not confined to Australian citizens, he might just get one out of Abbott, which would be a sweet completion of the circle, carrying on the family tradition of knighthoods, and one right up the nose of Her Majesty, too, for not permitting him the one Thatcher wanted to give him.

    Essentially the Liberal Party is being run by spivs and urgers, from Sydney, mostly Catholic, associating with media proprietors with large chips on their shoulders who run crooked organizations overseas (and probably here too), troublemakers, rent seekers, bagmen, influence peddlars and boat rockers who have committed the (forgive the pun) “cardinal sin” of politics: they got caught, and they made things tougher for the natural rulers of Australian politics.

    Well, there goes the neighbourhood!

    It makes me wonder just how long it will be until there is a counter-coup, until someone gives up Hockey, or Abbott with a receipt kept under glass for just such occasions, creases straightened out lovingly and dropped off at ICAC for their perusal.

    Joe obviously realizes AWH is absolute kryptonite to the Liberals. Arthur Sinodinos, although just a hired gun, a sad Greek follower of those who are – in his own words – his “betters”, is now considering his future in politics. Barry O’Farrell is ruined, gone in a day. It really can’t be allowed to continue this way or there’ll be no Liberal Party left.

    The “Rule By Spiv” experiment has not gone according to plan, at all.

  2. I’m amazed that Malcolm Fraser and his “boys” haven’t sent a couple of dead fish to Tony and co.

  3. As I said yesterday..that botle of Grange wasn’t given in ANTICIPATION of a future favour, but rather in APPRECIATION of a favour already done.

  4. free article


  6. BB, that ‘influence’ now goes way deyond politics. The healthcare industry ,law ,NGO’s and others have a very heavy Catholic influence. The liberal establishment have been ambushed from within by a slowly growing influence by the Tykes. It is the 50’s DLP destabilisation of the ALP revisited, this time on the Tories.Bravo

  7. The Jesuits must be very disappointed by the way some of their former students have turned out.
    Did you know Gerard Henderson is one of those disappointments? He’s an Old Boy of Mellbourne’s Xavier College. So is Bill Shorten. Not that i’m including him among the disappointments.

  8. Bill Shorten? A bit early to decide on him, either way. I still remember the good old days on PB, before it became the cesspool it apparently is these days, how much everyone loved the “Ruddster”. Times and people move on. I’m not sure about Shorten. The only thing we can be certain of is the media will be against him. 100%. How he deals with that, and disasters like WA, will define him. I do believe he has started to unsettle Abbott. Not that it is a hard thing to manage but the direct correlation of media support for Abbott usually matches the progress of whoever is opposing him. Conversely, the media support of Abbott is the inverse of media support of whoever is leading Labor.

    I haven’t looked at PB for well over a year. Bemused still running the show? What about dear old My Say? Still pestering MPs? I suppose she’d be devastated about the recent goings on on Gilligan’s Island. And, of course, that creep, Shows On…

  9. And of course at Easter there’s the bilby:

    Bilby fur is very soft. It is mainly blue-grey, with some fawn. The belly is white and the tail is black with a white crest at the end and a naked spur-like tip.
    The large ears of the Bilby are almost hairless. As well as providing great hearing, they are believed to help keep the Bilby cool.
    The long snout, which is pink and hairless at the tip, gives the Bilby an excellent sense of smell.

  10. I haven’t looked at PB for well over a year. Bemused still running the show? What about dear old My Say? Still pestering MPs? I suppose she’d be devastated about the recent goings on on Gilligan’s Island. And, of course, that creep, Shows On…

    Had a look over there recently, it’s still the same, someone criticises the glorious St Kevin, Bemused gets all defensive about it and derails the whole thread. I seriously think that William Bowe doesn’t care about the site anymore.

    They do very occasional political polls, but mostly its market stuff.
    They also do the charity rep one.

  12. Believe it or not Roy, they’ve been banging on about Julia Gillards support/belief/atheism and how it, apparently, affected the entire proposal of ssm.

  13. ian

    affected the entire proposal of ssm

    It’s one of those things that most people have a view on but you don’t change your vote for it.

  14. Ian, CTar1,
    Re SSM, I am happy for those who want to do it to go right ahead and do it. I simply don’t care , one way or the other. I have enough difficulties with conventional marriage to be bothered with it. I think a lot of people think the same way. It is just not a front line issue for those struggling with the day to day challenges of life. I can’t understand why the proponents – and let’s face it, the overwhelming majority are gay get so upset when everyone else doesn’t come on board with the same vigour. It’s one of those nice to have things, but not a showstopper.

    Now, if you ask me about homosexual couples adopting children then I am very conflicted on that. If I were asked, right now, to vote in a referendum, i’d vote no. That doesn’t mean I always will, but I’ll need some mighty convincing convincing.

    Anyway, just cleaned up the BBQ after the compulsory Good Friday fish lunch and I’m off to watch the Bunnies deal with the Bullwogs. One hopes…


    But the country’s military coyness has not prevented it from selling weapons into the world’s war zones – not just as business but as foreign policy.

    Chancellor Angela Merkel all but declared her “send guns not soldiers” strategy in a speech at a political foundation event in 2011.

    She had evidently decided it would be more politically prudent to arm regional allies than put soldiers in harm’s way.

    And under Merkel, the arms business has boomed, reaching a peak in 2010, when her government approved arms exports worth a record turnover of €2.1 billion – a tenfold increase on 2000.

  16. An Easter joke…:
    So this Jew sits on a park bench in old Jerusalem next to Jesus..he looks at Jesus and asks..: “So what are you doing over the weekend?”…to which a dreamy Jesus replies..: “I’m going to be tried, tortured, crucified, raised from the dead to ascend into heaven”. The Jew sits there, nods and says.; “It sounds good already, but i wouldn’t make a habit of it”.

  17. Being honest, I personally don’t give a toss one way or the other either. In the final analysis, the whole issue just became another stick to try and belt JGPM with. Made a change from old union boyfriends, big backsides, the wrong earlobes, Australian accents and a ” gay ” partner I suppose.

    I always asked …if a conscience vote in the House of Parliament, the seat of the nation, relies on the vote of one woman in body of 150, when 72 of them have to vote according to how they’re instructed, about which you say nothing, the argument being put forward can’t, by definition, be all that compelling.

    Never got a satisfactory answer.

  18. Anyone wondering why some of us here still watch and listen to the ABC despite being so critical?
    Well the simple fact is that the ABC have an obligation to be fair and balanced.
    They are funded by the tax-payer and therefore should not be treating those of us who happen to support the ALP with the contempt that they frequently do.
    I choose to still watch and listen because they occasionally still do good work but it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be critical, they will never pull their heads in if we just turn off.
    They need to hear loud and clear that they are being watched closely, they need to be held in check.
    Ratings mean fuck all to them so ignoring them and not giving feedback will only encourage then that they are on the right track, infact I think it’s time more if us started complaining just as the libs have done for years. If we don’t make our voice heard the ABC will think that their current path towards Fox News style fairness and balance is what the punters want and will not change.
    Also, where else am I meant to go if I just want a balanced coverage of news in this country.
    Many sites online are good but most are coloured with their own bias and operate more as opinion sites not straight news.
    The answer isn’t to boycott the ABC but force them to stick to their obligation to provide a decent and balanced coverage that is so lacking elsewhere in this country.

  19. Having watched the devastation of long term gay partners on the death of one of them, and the predatory refutation of the will by the recently dead partner’s family and comparing it to the law with regards to my own conventionally married state and how the law applies to me in that situation …
    If the individuals are both consenting adults I cannot see why ‘birth family’ who disagree with their ‘lifestyle choices’ should have higher claims on a partnerships legal deposition of their assets at death.
    That’s the point at which I became a supporter of equal marriage, because even if my family objected to my last will & testament, as I am in an ‘legally sanctioned’ marriage, my spouse’s and children’s rights are greater than those of my birth family.

    There are lots of other benefits I get by being in a long term relationship that is legally sanctioned that friends of ours do/will not get just because they happen to be of the same gender. As they pay the same taxes as we do, are subject to the same laws regarding behaviour that we are, I don’t see why they should be denied the (dubious? 😉 ) benefits of being married too.
    That being said, I think there are more important things to be dealt with than Equal Marriage.

  20. I actually like Sarah Ferguson. To begin with I like her strong nasal voice. Secondly, she rarely interrupts. Her questions are clear and direct. No snide remarks, no bitchiness. She’s quite balanced. She’s my choice number one.

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