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The dunny

 

Back home again you could say that everybody’s loo or outhouse was, as the name suggests, way out in the backyard.  In the middle of the night or in the pouring rain, that’s all there was and no toilet paper either.  The Sydney Morning Herald was the paper of choice.  A far cry from today; you didn’t have to press a button or pull a chain either.  Oh no!  All you had in those days was a very big ‘pan’ about 18” high by about a foot wide with a wooden dunny seat and a lid on the top.  Upon lifting it you would see what was in the pan; the stench of which would knock a horse over.

The ‘night man’ would call about once a week in the wee small hours to change the pan, heave the full one up onto his back, with the family dog snapping at his heels and trying his best not to contaminate both himself and your backyard with its contents ‘a la dog’. Every year at Christmas he would leave a card asking for either a tip or some sort of gift. What gift could you leave him?  A piece of cake?  My humorous instincts were always in poor taste.

 

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Travel

Cambodia and Vietnam

 

 

 In April 2010 we travelled to the previous French territories of Cambodia and Vietnam: ‘French Indochina’, as they had been called when I started school; until 1954. Since then many things have changed.  But of course, this has been a region of change for tens of thousands of years. Our trip ‘filled in’ areas of the map between our previous trips to India and China and did not disappoint.  There is certainly a sense in which Indochina is a blend of China and India; with differences tangential to both. Both have recovered from recent conflicts of which there is still evidence everywhere, like the smell of gunpowder after fireworks.

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Fiction, Recollections & News

Outcomes for girls and boys

 

 

A Radio National discussion (May 29 2015) stated that statistically girls outperform boys academically and referenced research suggesting that this has something to do with working parents:

Provocative new research suggests that the outcomes for girls and boys can be different when parents go back to work, in particular mothers.

The big question is WHY?

 

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Opinions and Philosophy

Gone but not forgotten

Gone but not forgotten

 

 

Gough Whitlam has died at the age of 98.

I had an early encounter with him electioneering in western Sydney when he was newly in opposition, soon after he had usurped Cocky (Arthur) Calwell as leader of the Parliamentary Labor Party and was still hated by elements of his own party.

I liked Cocky too.  He'd addressed us at University once, revealing that he hid his considerable intellectual light under a barrel.  He was an able man but in the Labor Party of the day to seem too smart or well spoken (like that bastard Menzies) was believed to be a handicap, hence his 'rough diamond' persona.

Gough was a new breed: smooth, well presented and intellectually arrogant.  He had quite a fight on his hands to gain and retain leadership.  And he used his eventual victory over the Party's 'faceless men' to persuade the Country that he was altogether a new broom. 

It was time for a change not just for the Labor Party but for Australia.

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